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Oct 23, 2012 3:55 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Campaign Diary: Altschuler Leads In Two Polls; Candidates Tout Endorsements

Oct 23, 2012 5:48 PM

Second-time Republican congressional candidate Randy Altschuler is leading Democratic opponent Tim Bishop by 3 to 5 percent in two recent polls, according to a statement his campaign issued last week.

A poll of the 1st Congressional District race conducted by Republican pollster McLauglin & Associates shows Mr. Altschuler ahead by five points, with a 48-to-43-percent margin, with 9 percent undecided. The results of the poll were obtained from telephone interviews with 400 likely voters in the district on October 14 and 15, according to a statement by the pollster, which added that Mr. Bishop’s recent “ethically questionable actions” had taken a toll on the congressman.

Another poll released by a conservative super PAC Prosperity First shows Mr. Bishop behind by three points, 49 to 46, with 5 percent undecided. Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates conducted the poll between October 10 and 11 by surveying 400 likely 2012 voters in the district by phone.

Just last month, a poll conducted by Siena Research Institute at Siena College placed Mr. Bishop ahead by 13 points. The same organization predicted the incumbent would win by a wide margin two years ago, although Mr. Bishop narrowly won reelection by about 600 votes.

Robert Pierce, the communications director for Mr. Bishop’s campaign, dismissed the polls, one of which states that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama 54 to 42 percent in the district.

“As far as the polling goes, if you believe Mitt Romney beats Barack Obama in this district by 12 points, I have a bridge to sell you,” Mr. Pierce said in an email. “Altschuler manufactured these numbers to justify to super PACs why they should continue to spend millions of dollars on his behalf.”

Diana Weir, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign manager, said Mr. Altschuler’s ahead in the polls because jobs and the economy are a main focus for voters this year, and they can see that “things are not really getting better here.” But, she also added that a poll is a “snapshot in time.”

“A poll is a poll,” Mr. Weir said. “The real poll is on Election Day.”

Candidates Tout Endorsements

With Election Day less than two weeks away, both candidates are touting a long list of endorsements from various groups representing diverse interests within the 1st Congressional District.

On Tuesday, Mr. Bishop’s campaign announced he had received the endorsement of Democratic New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Tim is a true advocate for eastern Long Island and all New Yorkers,” the governor said in a statement. “From fighting for clean air and clean water to fighting to keep jobs in our state at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Gabreski Airport, Tim has shown time and again that he has what it takes to represent our interests in Congress. In short, Tim delivers for us and for eastern Long Island and that’s why it is so important to send him back to Congress.”

Mr. Bishop also has the backing of the Long Island Federation of Labor; the Nassau Suffolk Building Trades; The Sierra Club; the League of Conservation Voters; the Long Island Environmental Voters Forum; the Long Island Contractors’ Association, and the Suffolk County Police Conference, which includes the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association, the Suffolk County Detective Investigators PBA, the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association, and the Suffolk Detective Association.

Mr. Bishop also has support from home builders and the Fire Chiefs Council of Suffolk County, according to a statement his campaign issued on Monday.

“These groups don’t always agree with each other, but they agree on me,” Mr. Bishop said in the statement. “It’s truly an honor to have earned these diverse endorsements. They should know that I will continue to fight for the good jobs that built the middle class on Long Island, while still protecting our precious natural resources, clean air and clean water.”

Mr. Altschuler has racked up several endorsements as well. His list includes the Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees; Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs Police Benevolent Association; Suffolk County Correction Officers Association, Inc.; the National Federation of Independent Business; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; The Health Care Coalition of Suffolk County; National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition; National Association of Wholesale Distributors; The Montauk Boatman & Captain’s Association; New York Fishing Tackle Trades Association; Recreational Fishing Alliance; Suffolk County Republican Committee; Suffolk County Conservative Party and the Independence Party of New York State.

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