NEW YORK — Democrat Tom Suozzi leads Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip by 4% in a new poll of their special election battle for the Long Island seat previously held by disgraced ex-Rep. George Santos.
Suozzi holds a narrow 48%-to-44% lead over Pilip in the poll of likely voters in the NY-03 election set for Tuesday, according to the Siena College-Newsday poll released Thursday.
Pollster Don Levy suggested turnout will be comparatively light at about 25% and the results will be determined by the most regular voters in the suburban swing district.
“Relative turnout Democratic to Republican is indeed the dynamic that will probably turn the race,” Levy said.
The poll came out as Suozzi and Pilip prepared to clash in their only face-to-face debate ahead of the election set for Thursday night on the Long Island News 12 cable channel.
The election will help determine control of Congress and comes as the GOP clings to a narrow margin in the House.
The tiny edge was dramatized when Republicans fell a single vote short of impeaching Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.
The survey of 694 voters in the district spanning the North Shore and a slice of Queens is the second poll to show Suozzi, who represented the district for three terms, with a modest advantage.
The poll included 39% Democrats and 39% Republicans with the rest being independents.
More Democrats than Republicans have voted in recent elections including the 2022 contest won by Santos when the electorate included 39% Democrats and 35% Republicans.
But Levy contends the electorate will look more like the off-year 2021 race for Nassau County executive that the GOP won.
The same Siena survey found former President Trump leading President Biden by a 47%-42% margin. If that proved true, the result would flip the script on Biden’s 8% win in the district in 2020.
The only other poll of NY-03 last month showed Suozzi with a similarly narrow lead, but found his edge could balloon to double digits if only the most likely of voters turn out.
So far, turnout has been fairly robust in early in-person and absentee mail-in voting, with both sets of voting data offering mostly good news for Suozzi.
After four days of early voting, registered Democrats held a 13.7% lead over Republicans, compared to a smaller 7.8% edge in 2022, according to Target Smart, a voting analysis firm. Among absentee ballots, Democrats led by 29% compared to a 26% edge in the race won by Santos.
“The early vote data thus far suggests Democrats are more engaged,” Tom Bonior, a Democratic analyst with Target Smart, told the News.
Republicans say they are pleased by strong early turnout in Pilip’s home base of Great Neck and note that GOP voters tend to vote in person on Election Day.