As Republicans go on the offensive in an increasing number of districts, a GOP poll shows that Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's seat in upstate New York could be in play.
Republican former Rep. Nan Hayworth released an internal poll showing her tied with Maloney at 42 percent each. Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 400 likely voters on Oct. 23 and 25 for a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Partisan polls should be taken with a grain of salt, but this is the second poll by Public Opinion Strategies showing a tight race. A poll conducted for Hayworth's campaign earlier this month showed Maloney leading by only 4 points, within the poll's margin of error. Depending on the accuracy of the Republican polls, the race may be moving in Hayworth's direction: A mid-September Siena College poll showed Maloney with an 8-point lead.
Maloney's district favors Democrats but only slightly. President Obama won by a 4-point margin there in 2012, when Maloney defeated Hayworth in her first bid for reelection. Thirty-five percent of the poll's respondents were Democrats, while 32 percent were Republicans.
Democrats are taking Hayworth's comeback bid seriously: Hillary Rodham Clinton is campaigning for Maloney in his district today, and House Majority PAC has run TV ads showing Hayworth at a rally saying, "I am proud to be a radical." On the Republican side, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Action Network have spent money backing Hayworth.
Maloney opened himself up to criticism over the summer when he appeared to violate Federal Aviation Administration rules by using a drone to capture video footage of his wedding.
But Hayworth has not been an all-star candidate, either. The New York Times endorsed Maloney on Friday, saying Hayworth "did not serve her constituents well" two years ago, taking a "Tea Party stance." Maloney has also raised significantly more money, despite Hayworth injecting $635,000 of her own funds into her campaign.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the origin of the poll. It was conducted for the Hayworth campaign.
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Jack Fitzpatrick is a staff correspondent at National Journal. He has previously written for USA TODAY, NBCNews.com, Slate, The Arizona Republic and other newspapers and websites. He graduated from Arizona State University with a master's degree in mass communication and a bachelor's degree in journalism.