Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman has pulled into a 17-point lead over Democrat Bill Owens in the congressional race in New York's 23rd District, according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling. That lead is in a three-way contest that includes the newly-withdrawn Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava; in a two-way contest between Hoffman and Owens, Hoffman leads by 16 points.
In the three-way race, Public Policy Polling has Hoffman at 51 percent, with Owens at 34 percent and Scozzafava at 13 percent. In the two-way race, Hoffman leads Owens 54-38.
Public Policy Polling admits that surveying the race has been somewhat chaotic in the last few days — days in which the Republican Scozzafava, trailing badly, withdrew from the race and endorsed the Democrat Owens. “Polling the race was a little haphazard in a weekend with many twists and turns,” writes PPP. But the pollsters say Hoffman had a solid lead over Owens — 49 percent to 31 percent — in interviews conducted before Scozzafava's announcement. After the news that Scozzafava was leaving, Hoffman's lead grew even more. Then, when Scozzafava endorsed Owens, the two-way race got a little closer, but Hoffman still held a 14-point lead.
“The bottom line,” writes PPP, “is that Hoffman led by double digits during every segment of the poll, an indication that he may have been headed for a definitive victory regardless of Scozzafava's actions over the course of the weekend.”