Former Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) narrowly leads his Republican opponent Mazi Pilip in the race for disgraced former Rep. George Santos’s (R-N.Y.) vacant House seat, according to a new poll.
The Emerson College Polling/PIX11/The Hill survey found Suozzi, who represented the district for six years, leading Pilip 50 percent to 47 percent, with 3 percent undecided. When those who are undecided are required to pick a candidate, Suozzi’s lead expands to 52 percent to 48 percent.
But both leads are within the poll’s margin of error.
A slight majority of 53 percent said they expect Suozzi to win Tuesday’s election, while 47 percent said they expect Pilip, a Nassau County legislator, to prevail.
“Which candidate comes out on top next week will depend on turnout,” said Spencer Kimball, the executive director of Emerson College Polling, in a release.
The seat has been vacant since December, when Santos was expelled from the House after an investigation by the House Ethics Committee into the many false statements he has made about his background and the criminal allegations against him. Santos has been charged with nearly two dozen charges, including counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied wrongdoing.
Voters across the board in the district have a widely unfavorable view of Santos, with 12.2 percent of all respondents viewing him somewhat unfavorably and 73 percent viewing him very unfavorably.
Suozzi and Pilip’s favorability ratings are relatively similar. Suozzi is viewed favorably by 48.5 percent and unfavorably by 50.1 percent, while Pilip is seen favorably by 46.5 percent and unfavorably by 46.7 percent.
Republicans have been going after Suozzi recently over immigration, seeking to tie him to President Biden, who has been unpopular on the issue. The poll found border security is seen as Pilip’s greatest strength among voters, leading Suozzi in who they trust to do the best job on it by 6 points.
Suozzi is most trusted on abortion access, leading Pilip by 11 points.
The Democratic nominee does have a slight advantage in name recognition, with 7 percent saying they are not familiar with Pilip while just more than 1 percent say the same about Suozzi.
Kimball said Suozzi has a stronger lead among early voters, according to the poll, up 59 percent to 41 percent. Pilip has a slight advantage with election day voters, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Pollsters also found a significant difference in the demographic breakdown of the candidates’ support. Pilip leads among white voters by 11 points, while Suozzi is ahead with Asian voters, which make up a sizeable portion of the electorate, by a 3-to-1 margin.
Six in 10 voters younger than 30 back Suozzi, while 54 percent of voters older than 70 support Pilip.
The poll was conducted from Feb. 4-5 among 742 very likely voters and those who already voted early. The margin of error is 3.5 points.