Sienna Univ (PDF). 9/27-29. Likely voters. MoE 3.9% (No trend lines)
Scozzafava (R) 35
Owens (D) 28
Hoffman (C) 16
Club for Growth darling Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party line, and has even garnered the endorsement of Fred Thompson. The guy has legitimate traction, fueled by the fact that Dede Scozzafava, the Republican, is actually the most liberal candidate in the race. (Heck, she has run on the very liberalWorking Families Party ballot line in the past.)
Sure, she is a Republican, and opposes the public option. But she's been willing to raise taxes when budgets require it, and is to the left of most Democrats on social issues (including supporting gay marriage). That's why conservatives are panicked about her -- for a party that is becoming more regional, more conservative, more ideologically rigid, Scozzafava's brand of moderate conservatism is grating. Hence, Hoffman has a real shot at not just playing spoiler and undermining the GOP candidate's chances, but also of potentially winning.
The "Democrat" isn't even a Democrat -- he was a registered independent when selected by the district's Democratic county chairs for the special election. On social issues, he's pro-choice, but opposes gay marriage. On health care, he opposes a public option but doesn't have the balls to say so, so he talks all squishy like claiming he has no "litmus test" on the issue. He's a Lieberdem Blue Dog, and would strengthen the part of the Democratic caucus that is actually the problem, rather than the solution.
So who to root for? A Blue Dog who would strengthen the Democrats' corporatist faction, or a Republican version of a Lieberdem, who will probably be muzzled, but could -- if she remained true to her record in Albany -- be more of a Susan Collins-type Republican, a moderate in an ideologically rigid party willing to give the Dems fake "bipartisan" cover with crossover votes every once in a while.
If Republicans lose the seat, it'll dent that sense of momentum they believe is headed their way. If they win the seat, it will have been with a liberal Republican, suggesting that their path to electoral relevance in the northeast is to ditch the Southern-fueled ultra conservatism. Both are good for us.
If the Democrat loses the race, we lose nothing -- it was previously held by a Republican. If he wins the seat, we gain another obnoxious Blue Dog, undermining our caucus from within while adding just a single vote to our already dominant House majorities. Furthermore, the typical DC wankers will take this as "proof" that you need to run Lieberdems in such districts to win them, while ignoring the fragmented conservative opposition. Not much of an advantage at all. More than likely, a net disadvantage.
So it's official, I'm rooting for the Republican to win. As a congresswoman, she could either move even more to the left to properly represent her progressive-trending district and be a pain in the side of the GOP caucus (they have nothing like our Blue Dogs), or Democrats can field a real Democrat to challenge her in 2010.