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Poll shows Addabbo leads Ulrich by slim margin

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (l.) is locked in a virtual tie with his Republican challenger, City Councilman Eric Ulrich.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Just weeks before voters cast their ballots, opponents in the 15th state Senate District race are locked in a virtual tie, according to a new Siena College poll released Monday.

Incumbent Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) leads City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) 45-43, with 12 percent of voters still undecided.

“The seat in Queens — despite its overwhelming 33-point Democratic enrollment advantage — is viewed by Republicans as an opportunity to defeat a Democratic incumbent and increase their majority,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. “There’s no question that the Democrats are going to have their hands full in trying to hold on to this seat.”

Despite a large Democratic advantage in voters — 54 percent to 21 percent — the district leans moderate, as illustrated by President Barack Obama’s slim three-point lead over Mitt Romney in the area, according to the Siena poll.

The Siena poll also revealed the No. 1 issue in the district, according to voters, is job creation, followed by education, health care and property taxes. Among likely voters, Addabbo leads Ulrich on job creation, education and health care; Ulrich leads Addabbo on property taxes.

“Addabbo and Ulrich are separated by just two points, with one in eight voters still undecided,” said Greenberg. “While Addabbo is more known than Ulrich to voters, Ulrich has the better favorability rating. In other words, this figures to be a barn burner straight through to Election Day.”

Ulrich’s favorability rating was 42 percent with Addabbo at 40 percent.

The district includes parts of the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Forest Hills, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday endorsed Addabbo in his re-election bid, citing the senator’s willingness to change his stance on same-sex marriage, which give the legislation enough votes to pass.

“Political courage, which is what Sen. Joe Addabbo displayed, should be encouraged, not discouraged,” said Cuomo. “And I want his constituents to know today that he is a man of conscience, he is a man of integrity, he is a man of courage and that’s what you want in an elected official — especially in Albany.”

But Addabbo’s vote for same-sex marriage prompted Ulrich, who opposes the legislation, to accuse the senator of flip-flopping.

“Gov. Cuomo is doing a good job and Joe Addabbo is lucky to have his support,” said Ulrich spokeswoman Jessica Proud. “It’s not surprising given the close family ties and years in politics that the governor would back him. Eric has been a strong proponent of the governor’s reform proposals and looks forward to working with him when elected. Thursday’s Siena poll shows Joe Addabbo’s campaign is in crisis mode and he’ll need all the help he can get.”

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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