ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A 36-year veteran of the New York Senate trailed his Democratic opponent according to a poll released Sunday, threatening continued Republican control of the chamber.

The Siena Research Institute poll finds Democratic challenger Brian Foley led GOP Sen. Caesar Trunzo 56-34 percent in the 3rd Senate District in Suffolk County, with 9 percent still undecided. Foley, the Brookhaven town supervisor, took the lead since September, when the Siena poll had Trunzo leading 46-40 percent.

"Foley has completely reversed this race, erasing Senator Trunzo's small early lead and opening an overwhelming 22-point lead," said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena College poll. "Unless Trunzo can somehow find a quick way to bring Republican voters back into his camp and narrow the gap with independent voters, he appears to be facing a deficit that cannot be made up in the short time remaining."

The poll shows another reversal in favor of Democrats: Democratic Sen. William Stachowski had a 47-43 lead over Republican challenger Dennis Delano in Sunday's poll, with 10 percent undecided. Delano, a local hero police officer, was ahead in an October Siena poll in the race for the seat representing the 58th District. The district includes Wyoming County and parts of Erie, Livingston and Ontario counties.

Taken as a whole, the results of the five keys races in Sunday's poll and four more in Siena's poll on Thursday show Republicans would lose a seat. That would create a tie in the Senate, where the GOP's 40-year majority has dwindled to 31-29 with two vacancies that are expected to be split by the parties on Tuesday. The Senate is the GOP's only power base in state government.

But Sunday's poll also showed strength for the Republicans in the face of a rising Democratic enrollment and the party's boost through popular presidential nominee Barack Obama.

In the 61st district in Genesee County and part of Erie County, Republican Michael Razenhofer has overtaken Democrat Joseph "Baby Joe" Mesi for the open seat. Sunday's poll gave Razenhofer a 47-42 lead, with 11 percent undecided. Razenhofer had trailed 38-40 in the September poll, although both margins are within the poll's margin of error so the candidates are in a statistical dead heat.

The seat had long been held by Republicans and was vacant because of a retirement.

Democrats also just received an infusion of cash for these last days of campaigning.

Since Friday, Senate leader Malcolm Smith — who is unopposed in his Queens district — took in $51,00 in campaign contributions primarily from business, labor and other Democrats. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee took in $130,000 since Friday, and pulled in $250,000 on Wednesday from a Democratic candidate's campaign and also took out a $200,000 loan, according to state financial disclosure records.

Republicans haven't been as active in the last few days, but already had about a $2 million advantage in fundraising.

Other races in Sunday's poll found little change as more undecided voters choose a candidate.

—Democratic challenger Joseph Addabbo Jr. had a 45-43 percent lead over veteran Republican Sen. Serphin Maltese in the 15th district in Queens, with 13 percent undecided. They were tied in the September poll, but even Sunday's numbers are a statistical tie.

Maltese, in office since 1988, remains strong in the heavily Democratic district in part because he has a 51-31 percent edge among independent voters. The state Independence Party recently accepted money from the Republican Senate campaign committee to set up an office in Maltese's district and run broadcast and print ads under its name as well as to contact voters directly.

—In the 48th district, Republican David Renzi still trails Sen. Darrel Aubertine in the district that includes Jefferson, Oswego and part of St. Lawrence counties. But Renzi has picked up voters in that traditionally Republican district. Aubertine, then a popular local assemblyman, won the seat in February to fill a vacancy.

In September, Aubertine had a 51-31 percent edge in the Siena poll. Sunday's poll gave him a 49-38 percent edge.

"There are races from one end of the state to the other that figure to be very close and the old cliche that every vote counts is going to prove particularly true in determining which party controls the state Senate come January," Greenberg said.

The poll from Wednesday through Saturday contacted more than 400 likely voters in each Senate district and has a margin of error of about 5 percentage points.

Thursday's poll showed two Republican senators with double-digit leads in races that have been close and would be pivotal for the GOP majority.

Republican Sen. Joseph Robach had a 52-39 percent leave over Democrat Richard Dollinger with 9 percent undecided in the 56th district in Rochester.

And Republican Sen. Dale Volker of Erie County had a 50-39 percent lead over Kathy Konst in the 59th District in Erie County, with 10 percent undecided.

"This poll is just flawed and wildly off the mark," said Joseph Conway, Republican campaign spokesman. "We're headed into the home stretch with more energy and enthusiasm than ever before."

"People want reform leaders," said Juanita Scarlett, spokeswoman for the Democratic Senate campaign. "And a Democratic majority will bring change to Albany."

Trending Video

Recommended for you