The district was drawn to be Republican, and while now-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Murphy have won there three times since 2006, it still is the most Republican-by-registration district in the state (about 70,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats).
Democrats win here by being relatively moderate, appealing to moderate Republicans and independents, and working very hard. Murphy has done that, and according to a Siena poll released today, has a 17-point lead, 54-37.
Gibson should also be appealing to the middle voters, but many of his most fervent supporters are far-right tea partiers, so that's been difficult.
Some examples of Gibson's extremist supporters, below.
The first TV ad for Gibson is running now, but it's not his, it's from Republican/corporate astroturf group 60 Plus Association.
The ad, of course, does not mention that the 60 Plus Association supports eliminating Social Security via privatization, which is an extreme position that would not appeal to NY-20 moderates.
Gibson supporters commenting about this attack ad at the Albany Times Union's Capital Confidential blog got even more extreme, in other ways.
After a sane commenter noted that FactCheck.org had dissed a similar 60 Plus ad, Gibson supporter NYRN went Birther:
factcheck.org a "non-partisan media watchdog?" Thanks for the laugh of the day.
A simple Goolge search about factcheck.org reveals:
"FactCheck.org is an arm of the powerful Annenberg Foundation which also runs the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, the entity which employed Barack Obama as its chairman of the board.."
Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt and simply call them "left leaning" just to be kind. In fact, many of their supposed "fact checks" smack of a far left agenda.
They were exposed as stretching the truth (to put it mildly) with regard to their own alleged investigation of Obama’s Birth certificate, among many other things they have "checked."
Sorry, but knowing their bias, any analysis they now give is irrelevant.
NYRN's quote about FactCheck.org cannot be found in a "simple Goolge search," it comes from the ultra-right We The People Foundation's Birther page.
Even more extreme than that was Gibson supporter voter's violent fantasy:
I haven’t seen the ad but its speaking the truth nothing more. Murphy aides response is just just the same Liberal answer. An answer not concerning the ad but to bring you off track to hide the truth.
Chris Gibson will deliver the wishes of the people not Nancy’s wishes.
When this administration has destroyed this county its time to march with guns which the constitution has granted us for protection against the government.
voter is presumably not the only NY-20 gun nut who supports Gibson and envisions using his guns to kill Democrats.
Gibson is not responsible for what his extremist supporters do or say to help elect him.
He can't disavow them, because they are his activist base, but he is not overtly campaigning to eliminate Social Security, investigate Obama's birth certificate, and encourage Second Amendment remedies.
But, should he be elected, he would join the House Republican Party of No which generally wants to do all those extreme things.
The Siena poll finds that NY-20 voters are uncomfortable with extreme Republicans -- the favorable/unfavorable for the tea party movement is 37/48, and for their favorite half-term governor Sarah Palin 31/61.
The race will certainly be closer on Election Day, but this first poll shows that NY-20 voters are not buying the Republican/tea party message.