By Joe Mahoney
The Daily Star
---- — A new Siena College poll suggests the contest for New York’s 19th Congressional District has tightened — with freshman Rep. Chris Gibson, R-Kinderhook, now holding just a five-point lead over Democratic hopeful Julian Schreibman of Stone Ridge, Ulster County.
The Siena poll, released Tuesday, showed significant gain in support for Schreibman, who last month trailed Gibson, a decorated U.S. Army veteran, by 16 points in a survey done by the same polling organization.
In the new survey of 649 likely voters, Siena said Gibson leads Schreibman, 48 percent to 43 percent. With the margin of error of the poll put at 3.8 percent, the poll suggests Schreibman is now within striking distance of Gibson.
Schreibman’s best showing was from his home turf. In Ulster and Dutchess counties, the poll said, Schreibman, a former federal prosecutor, was ahead of Gibson 49 percent to 42 percent..
In a region defined by Siena as Otsego, Delaware, Sullivan and Broome counties, Schreibman topped Gibson 45 percent to 43 percent.
Gibson is running best in the northern part of the district — New York’s Capital Region — where the poll said he is ahead of Schreibman 59 percent to 34 percent.
Gibson told Albany television station WNYT Tuesday that an ad released by the Schreibman campaign is “flatly untrue” because it suggests the Republican would deny women abortions in the case of rape or incest.”
Gibson said he remains ahead in the polls because “I’m the only candidate in the race that has a proven track record of tackling the major issues of our time.”
Schreibman told the same television station that he is gaining ground because his campaign has been “focusing on economic issues and not defunding Planned Parenthood or ending Medicare.”
Siena said the same poll also showed that President Barack Obama had doubled his lead over GOP challenger Mitt Romney — to eight points — in the same sample of voters surveyed on the Gibson-Schreibman race.