Democrat Josh Riley Leads Republican Marc Molinaro 46-41%

Spectrum News / Siena College NY 19 Congressional District Poll:

  • Riley Leads in Eastern & Western Parts of District; Molinaro Up in Central; Molinaro Up by 8 Points with Men; Riley Leading Women by 18 Points
  • Zeldin, 46% – Hochul, 45%; Congressional Control: Dem 48% – Rep 45%

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. Democrat Josh Riley holds a five-point, 46-41% lead over Republican Marc Molinaro in New York’s new 19th Congressional District. Riley is viewed favorably by 28% of voters and unfavorably by 19%, while 53% don’t know him or have no opinion. Molinaro has a negative 26-38% favorability rating, while 36% don’t know him or have no opinion. according to a new Spectrum News/Siena College poll of likely NY 19 voters released today.

Governor Kathy Hochul and her Republican opponent, Rep. Lee Zeldin, are separated by one point, with Zeldin ahead 46-45%. Voters are also closely divided favoring Democrats over Republicans 48-45% on which party they want controlling the US House after the 2022 election.

“First time candidate Riley has the support of 83% of Democrats and is leading 46-40% with independents, offsetting Molinaro’s 78-5% lead with Republicans in this district that has a four-point Democratic enrollment edge and in which President Joe Biden won by four points,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “While Molinaro leads with men by eight points, Riley has an 18-point lead with women.

“Riley leads by eight points in the eastern portion of the district and 15 points in the western portion of the district, while Molinaro has a 12-point lead in the central part of the district,” Greenberg said. “While Molinaro is more known to voters than Riley, Molinaro is underwater with those voters who have an opinion about him, including being underwater with independents by 17 points. Riley’s problem is that a majority of voters have no opinion about him, although he is as positive with Democrats as Molinaro is with Republicans.”

“The race for governor is even tighter. Zeldin is doing better with his base, leading among Republicans 89-5%, than Hochul is with her 82-13% lead with Democrats. Independents side with Hochul by six points, same as the lead they give Riley in the congressional race,” Greenberg said. “Zeldin’s 15-point lead with men is virtually offset by Hochul’s 13-point lead among women. While Hochul is better known than Zeldin, she is viewed more unfavorably, 38-45%, than Zeldin, 33-34%.”

Asked to name their most and next most important issues in determining who to support in November, 52% of voters identify economic issues as one of their top two issues; 34% name it number one. That was followed by threats to our democracy (31% top two / 20% most important), abortion (28%/13%), national gun policies (21%/6%), crime (18%/6%), healthcare (16%/6%), education (15%/5%), and racial justice (7%/3%). Climate change and immigration combined were named by 1%.

“Three-quarters of Republicans and 58% of independents say economic issues are one of their top two issues in choosing candidates this year, compared to 29% of Democrats, who make that their number three issue behind abortion (47%) and threats to democracy (46%). Crime and gun policy round out the Republicans’ top three, while threats to democracy and education complete the top three for independents,” Greenberg said. “Abortion is the second most important issue for women (38%) and fifth most important for men (19%).”

By a 59-28% margin, voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Biden has a 44-51% favorability rating, while former President Donald Trump’s is 37-57%.

“This new district – that does not include Molinaro’s Dutchess County base – is seen by most independent observers as a toss-up. It has a four-point Democratic enrollment edge, favors Democrats controlling Congress by a narrow three points, views Trump more unfavorably than Biden, and gives Riley a five-point edge. Only Zeldin’s paper-thin one-point margin bucks that trend, although Molinaro can also point to voters saying that the country is headed in the wrong direction more than two-to-one,” Greenberg said.

“What is clear is that these next five weeks are going to see a lot of two things: the candidates and their supporters campaigning hard, and ads for and against both candidates dominating airwaves and social media,” Greenberg said. “It’s close now and there’s every reason to believe it’s going to stay close to the end.”


This Spectrum News/Siena College NY 19 survey was conducted September 25-28, 2022 among 470 likely NY 19 voters. This poll has a margin of error of +/- 5.0 percentage points. Telephone sampling was conducted via a weighted stratified dual frame sample of landline and cell phone drawn from the L-2 database of registered voters. Data was statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, regional turnout in 2018, regional vote pattern in the 2020 election, a combined measure of stated and derived vote likelihood, and gender to ensure representativeness. 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