Both campaigns have been highly visible, with nearly half of voters saying they had seen or heard a Gillibrand commercial, and 57 percent saying they had seen or heard a Sweeney ad.
The candidates' main criticisms of their opponents have had little effect on voters. According to the Siena poll, the Sweeney camp's effort to claim Gillibrand was a longtime New York City resident and a relatively new transplant to the district did not sway many voters, with 64 percent saying it was not a factor in their decision. Twenty-six percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Sweeney, while 8 percent said it would persuade them to vote for Gillibrand. Gillibrand's argument that Sweeney is too close to President George Bush was slightly more persuasive, but still a nonissue to most voters. A total of 31 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Gillibrand, 19 percent said it would increase the likelihood they would vote for Sweeney, but 48 percent said it would have no effect.
In the Siena poll, Sweeney leads Gillibrand 73 percent to 13 percent among Republicans, while she leads him 67 percent to 23 percent among Democrats. Among independent voters, Sweeney leads 49 percent to 37 percent. The poll shows Sweeney leading in every region of the district and among all age groups.
The poll focused on six issues: crime, homeland security, taxes, health care, environmental issues and name recognition. On the issues of fighting crime and homeland security, Sweeney was considered likely to do a better job by a 27-point margin. On taxes, the incumbent had a 14-point advantage.
Gillibrand had a five-point lead on health care and a nine-point lead on environmental issues, and both scored similarly on education.
Both candidates have done well raising money: Sweeney has raised $1.6 million to date, and Gillibrand collected $1.2 million, according to their last Federal Election Commission filing in July. ""