by Craig Dimitri

Finally, some good news for the GOP in New York State.  U.S. Rep. Peter King (R) has managed to open up a 7% lead over his challenger, Dave Mejias (D), in a recent independent survey. That might not sound so great, for a seven-term incumbent.  But it does for the GOP, when one reads that when the same pollster, surveying from Oct. 8-10, determined that Mejias was in a statistical tie with the long-time incumbent.

While Mejias trails only 51%-44%, in a recent independent survey from MajorityWatch, King is probably safe at this point.  At age 62, King has been entrenched for quite a while.  A maverick in the House and an irritant to the GOP leadership, King’s genuinely independent streak has helped to insulate him from the Democratic wave which has been washing over New York State since 1992.  He’s always been popular in his Long Island district, winning re-election in 2004 with 63% and in 2002 with 72%.

But this year, he’s facing a challenge from a much younger candidate, the 35-year-old Mejias, a member of the Nassau County legislature.  The recent MajorityWatch poll was conducted from Oct. 24-26, among 982 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3.12%. King, ahead by 7%, now enjoys a lead of more than twice the margin of error – an impressive improvement from his standing in the Oct. 8-10 poll. 

However, he’s not out of the woods yet.  Democrats (note: not Mejias’s supporters, only those who self-identify as Democratic) are more committed to casting a ballot than King’s are.  In MajorityWatch’s unique “Voter Motivation Index” (VMI), the pollster asks the respondents to rate, on a scale of 1 to 9, how likely they are to cast a ballot.  VMI of self-identified Democrats was 8.0; Republicans, 6.9; independents, 6.5.

Of course, King will likely hang on to this seat.  He’s carved out a separate, distinct niche for himself among his Long Island voters, that the anti-Bush, anti-GOP fury will likely leave him untouched.  (Of academic interest: Bush actually carried his district 52%-47% in 2004, although his approval rating is 31% today.)  He certainly won’t win re-election by his usual landslide numbers, previously mentioned above, but he’ll be back in DC.  (If he isn’t – well, the GOP might be out of power for another long spell.) 

Worth noting – Mejias’s campaign site is not “Dave for Long Island”, but “Dave for America”.

Mejias official campaign site – http://www.daveforamerica.com/

A campaign-specific site for King (as opposed to his government site) could not be found by Politics1.com, the definitive source on these matters.  I concluded it must not exist.

MajorityWatch poll – http://www.majoritywatch.com/

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at cdimitri1@yahoo.com. 

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