Assemblyman George Latimer, a Democrat, and Republican Bob Cohen are in a “neck-and-neck” New York State Senate race, according to a State Senate poll released by the Siena College Research Institute on Wednesday. The two are vying to represent the 37th Senate District, which is retiring Senator Suzi Oppenheimer’s seat.
According to the poll, Latimer has the support of 44 percent of likely voters, compared to Cohen with 41 percent. Both candidates did well with voters of their own parties.
The Siena poll also found that in the 55th Senate District, currently held by retiring James Alesi, Republican Assemblyman Sean Hanna has a 47-39 percent lead over Democrat Ted O’Brien among likely voters.
“These two open seats – one each currently held by a Republican and a Democrat – are seen by both parties as important races in determining whether the State Senate will have more Rs or Ds among its 63 members next year,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. Republicans currently have a 33-29 seat advantage in the Senate.
The poll also found that job creation and property taxes proved to be the two most important issues for 37th District voters. Voters also viewed Gov. Andrew Cuomo favorably. The favorability ratings of President Barack Obama and candidate Mitt Romney were nearly even in the district.
The 37th Senate District is comprised of parts of New Rochelle and White Plains, Bedford-Katonah, Harrison, Rye, Port Chester, Bronxville-Eastchester and Larchmont-Mamaroneck.
Details from the Siena College Research Institute:
37th SD – Westchester County – George Latimer (D) vs. Bob Cohen (R)
Latimer has the support of 44 percent of likely voters and Cohen has the support of 41 percent. Both candidates do well with voters of their own party, Latimer with the support of 76 percent of Democrats and Cohen has the support of 75 percent of Republicans. Independents currently side with Cohen by a 43-34 percent margin. Cohen leads among men by five points, while Latimer has an 11-point lead with women. Latimer has a 12-point lead in the portion of the district that remains the same as the current district (59 percent of likely voters), while Cohen leads by nine points in the area new to the senate district.
Cohen is viewed favorably by 31 percent of voters and unfavorably by 23 percent. Latimer’s favorability rating is 30-29 percent. Both candidates are unknown to more than 40 percent of likely voters. Voters have a decidedly unfavorable view of the State Senate by a 51-35 percent margin, are they are virtually evenly divided on whether they want to see the Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.
The race for President within this Senate district is as tight as it can be with Romney having the support of 48 percent of voters and Obama being supported by 47 percent. Independents side with Romney by 14 points.
Voters say that Cohen will be better than Latimer on property taxes (44-35 percent), state budget (44-35 percent), state taxes (43-36 percent) and job creation (39-36 percent), four of the five most important issues for voters. They give Latimer the edge on health care (43-36 percent) and education (41-36 percent), and rate the two virtually evenly on ethics reform and representing the community in Albany.
“While this district has a significant Democratic enrollment edge, likely voters are closely divided on which party they want to control the Senate, on the favorability ratings of both Obama and Romney and their choice in the presidential election,” Greenberg said. “In light of that, it’s not particularly surprising to see a hotly contested Senate race also dividing voters nearly down the middle. Cohen has the better favorability rating, while Latimer has an early, narrow three point edge. It won’t be surprising if this stays close until the end.”
Read the full Siena Poll report in the PDF attached to this article.