Balter Narrowly Leads Katko 45-42%

Katko Balter Race
  • Siena College / 24th Congressional District Poll:
  • Balter Narrowly Leads Katko 45-42%
  • Both Are Viewed Unfavorably by Plurality of Voters
  • Balter Leads by 17 Points in Syracuse; They Are Tied in Rest of District
  • Biden Leads Trump by 19 Points; Clinton Won NY24 by 4 Points in 2016

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. Democratic challenger Dana Balter has a narrow three-point lead, 45-42 percent*, over three-term Republican Representative John Katko, according to a new Siena College/ poll of likely 24th C.D. voters released today. Katko has a negative 39-49 percent favorability rating and Balter has a comparable negative 36-46 percent favorability rating. In an October 18-22, 2018 Siena College/ survey, Katko had a 48-39 percent favorability rating and Balter’s was negative 33-42 percent.

Former Vice President Joe Biden holds a 19-point lead, 53-34 percent, over President Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the district in 2016 by four points and Barack Obama won it by 16 points in 2012.

“In this closely watched rematch of a race that Katko won 53-47 percent in 2018, Balter narrowly leads Katko 45-42 percent. Balter leads among Democrats 80-14 percent, while Katko’s lead among Republicans is 74-14 percent. Katko has a small five-point lead with independents,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Balter has a wide 17-point lead in Syracuse and the two are essentially tied in the rest of Onondaga County, as well as in the portion of the district that includes Cayuga, Oswego and Wayne Counties.

“Katko leads among men by 14 points and Balter has a slightly larger 17-point lead with women. Balter leads 53-37 percent among voters with a college degree, a little more than half of voters, while Katko leads 48-34 percent among voters without a college degree,” Greenberg said. “Balter’s favorability rating is about the same today as it was near the end of the last campaign. Katko’s favorability rating, however, has fallen over the last two years, from nine points favorable in October 2018 to now ten points unfavorable.”

“When it comes to the presidential race, voters in NY24 are solidly behind Biden, 53-34 percent. Biden routs among Democrats, 85-9 percent, has an 18-point lead with independents, and even gains the support of
nearly one-quarter of Republicans, who favor Trump 63-23 percent,” Greenberg said. “Biden has a huge lead in Syracuse, a big lead in the rest of Onondaga County and a 10-point lead in the other counties.

“Historically, Democratic congressional candidates do better in this district in presidential election years than they do in gubernatorial election years. However, Katko won by a commanding 21 points in 2016, even as Clinton carried the district by a narrow four points,” Greenberg said.

“Greater support for the Democrat at the top of the ticket this year appears to be having a beneficial impact for Balter’s campaign. While zero percent of Balter voters are supporting Trump, 13 percent of Katko supporters say they’re voting for Biden,” Greenberg said. “These are voters that Katko needs to hold onto and likely increase if he wants to win re-election. And it is a group that Balter likely needs to try and woo back to her side if she wants to hold or increase her narrow lead. This looks like it’s headed to another close election.

“More than half of voters, 57 percent, say they plan on voting in person on election day, while another 18 percent say they will vote in person by early voting. Only 14 percent say they plan to vote by mail and another 11 percent are still undecided on how they will vote,” Greenberg said. “By an overwhelming 60-26 percent, voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction, rather than on the right track. Eighty-one percent of Democrats say the country is headed on the wrong track, as do 57 percent of independents. Republicans are evenly divided.”

*The congressional horserace question was asked twice. First with Steven Williams listed as the candidate of the Working Families Party. In that horserace question the results were Balter 42 percent, Katko 40 percent, Williams 6 percent. The second horserace question, reported in this press release, tells voters that the WFP is working to remove Williams from its line and asks how they would vote in a two-way race. As of Friday, Williams is still on the ballot – although he has indicated that he is not actively campaigning – but the issue is still in court.

This Siena College/ 24th C.D. survey was conducted September 27-29, 2020 among 414 likely 24th C.D. voters. This poll has a margin of error of +/- 5.1 percentage points. Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones. A likely-to-vote probability was computed for each respondent based on their stated likelihood to vote as well as by virtue of the imputation of a turnout probability score based on past voting behavior. This combined probability to vote score was applied as a weight along with a weight that considered party registration, age, region, and gender. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Steven Greenberg at 518-469-9858. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: