13WHAM discussed the polls results with multiple political science professors in the Rochester area and each agreed that much more data would need to be gathered to explain such a drastic swing in such a short time.
13WHAM NEWS ANALYSIS FROM POLITICAL REPORTER SEAN CARROLL:
I don’t believe much can be drawn from the overall results of each Siena poll and sources on both sides tell me they have the race as being much closer than eight or eleven points. Yet, a look at the cross tabs shows me something else that begins to perhaps explain an O’Brien surge over the last month.
One consistency with each poll is that President Barack Obama held significant leads with voters in the SD-55. (14% in Oct. 3rd poll, 15% in Nov. 2nd poll)
In the Oct. 3rd poll, Ted O’Brien was unknown to 52% of those polled. In the Nov. 2nd poll, he was unknown to only 26% of those polled.
The race has been defined by nasty attack ads, many from outside groups and many targeting O’Brien as his campaign and the groups that support him have not been as well-funded.
I suspect those attacks gave O’Brien the name recognition he did not initially have and perhaps that resonated with voters who already leaned towards voting for the President.