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Race for Congress: Dana Balter narrowly leads John Katko in new Siena poll
Rep. John Katko and Democrat Dana Balter. (Photo: CNY Central){p}{/p}

An independent poll shows Rep. John Katko trailing for the first time in his three-term tenure. The Siena College/Syracuse.com poll has Democrat Dana Balter narrowly leading 45 to 42 percent over Katko among likely voters in New York's 24th Congressional District election. The poll has a margin of error +/- 5.1%.

Dr. Don Levy is the director of the Siena College Research Institute. “Balter is not performing as well as Biden...Katko is not performing as negatively as Donald Trump," said Levy.  "Hence, you really have what I would call a tossup." The poll, conducted last week on Sept. 28 and 29,  surveyed more than 400 likely voters. Levy says they go through a strict process to find representation of the community. "We do rigorous polling. We don't just talk to the first 400-500 people we can get a hold of."

The poll found Katko to be 49% unfavorable among likely voters compared to 39% favorable. Balter held a 46% unfavorable, 36% favorable rating.

Balter leads by 17 points in the City of Syracuse but virtually tied with Katko in the rest of the district.

Levy said Katko’s endorsement of President Trump could be a factor given Joe Biden’s 19-point lead among voters in Siena's presidential poll of the 24th district's likely voters. "This is the first time that we’ve polled in this district that John Katko suddenly has a negative favorability rating," said Levy.

Katko addressed the poll when speaking in Solvay for an endorsement from Nixon Gear. "I’m confident going forward we’re going to be okay," Katko said. "I never said this was going to be a walk in the park, you’re going to have ups and downs. It was a rough week for the President and it was reflective in the poll.”

While encouraged by the latest numbers, Balter says there is still work to be done. “Voters are ready for change...they know that I will fight for them and I think we’re seeing that reflected in the polling," said Balter.

The poll also found 14% of independent voters remain undecided five weeks before the election. A group both Katko and Balter want and need on their side. The last day to register to vote in New York is this Friday, Oct. 9. Click here to register.

CNY Central will be hosting a debate between the two candidates on Tuesday, Oct. 20th.

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