Politics

GOP Rep. John Katko Leads by 15 Percent in District Clinton Carried

Democrats have targeted the Western New York seat

Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., held a 15-point lead over his Democratic challenger in a poll released Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. John Katko holds a 15-point advantage over his Democratic opponent, a poll released Monday found.

Katko, who is seeking a third consecutive term in New York’s 24th District, led Democrat Dana Balter, 54 percent to 39 percent, in the Spectrum News/Siena College survey conducted by phone from August 20 through 23.

The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.7 percent.

The 24th District comprises Onondaga County and its main city, Syracuse, as well as three surrounding counties.

Democrats have targeted the district after Hillary Clinton carried it over President Donald Trump by nearly 4 points in 2016.

Balter held a 2-1 advantage in Syracuse, which is expected to produce a sixth of the voters in November. But Katko led by 14 points in the rest of Onondaga County — where roughly half of expected voters live — and by more than a 2-1 margin in the three other counties in the district.

“As we approach Labor Day and the race heats up, Balter has her work cut out for her,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said of the professor and activist candidate. “Katko is better known and gets a lot more support from Democrats than Balter gets from Republicans, and he has a double-digit lead with independents. We will continue to watch this district which has frequently flipped parties but for now, advantage Katko.”

Voters in the GOP-held district that broke for Clinton in 2016 maintained their unfavorable opinion of Trump: 49 percent said they disapproved of the job the president is doing, compared to 45 percent who said they approved.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Likely Republican.

The poll’s results reflect that Katko has remained an “independent and accessible representative,” his campaign manager, Jeff Bishop told the Auburn Citizen.

“He has worked to deliver results for his community and looks forward to running on that record in November,” Bishop said.

Balter’s campaign questioned the poll’s accuracy, though, after it predicted before the Democratic primary in June that she would lose to the candidate that Washington Democrats handpicked, Juanita Perez Williams.

“These numbers will change as soon as voters learn about Katko’s record of voting to raise taxes on New York’s working families while delivering a massive tax cut to his corporate campaign donors,” Joe Farrell, Balter’s campaign manager, told the Auburn Citizen.

Pollsters made calls to a stratified weighted sample of 513 voters from the district’s voter list and assigned a “likely-to-vote-probability” to each respondent based on based on “their stated likelihood to vote” as well as whether they have voted in the past.

The probability score was combined with another score that considered party registration, age, region within the district, and gender to produce a final weighted value for each respondent.

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