By Joe Anuta
The race for the congressional seat based in northeast Queens is either neck and neck or a landslide — depending on the poll you read.
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) released a poll Monday showing that he is in a “statistical dead heat” with his opponent, state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing). Both are vying to represent a large swath of the borough running from parts of Bayside in the east, through Flushing and Forest Hills to Ridgewood and Middle Village in the west.
The Republican’s poll puts Meng ahead 36 percent to Halloran’s 33 percent, which the study notes is within the 3 percent margin of error, while 30 percent were undecided.
“The poll confirms that Dan Halloran is on his way to winning this race,” the councilman’s spokesman, Kevin Ryan, said. “Dan won over Democrats in his Council race and he is doing it again in the heart of Queens.”
But Meng’s camp released the results of an internal poll showing the assemblywoman leading.
Meng spokesman Austin Finan called Halloran’s poll “nothing more than a desperate attempt on behalf of the Halloran campaign to raise money from its far right, radical Tea Party base of support. Once again, Dan Halloran just makes things up and expects no one to question him.”
Finan said an internal poll done by the campaign shows Meng with a 51 percent to 22 percent lead over Halloran, with 27 percent undecided.
Both sides immediately took to criticizing the methodology of the other’s poll.
Finan called into question which demographics were surveyed for Halloran’s poll, which was conducted by a company called Brian Larkin, McLaughlin & Associates, charging it was not representative of the district’s population.
The poll claimed it interviewed 300 people of various age groups and political persuasions across the district in an attempt to recreate who would vote in the general election.
Halloran’s camp then suggested Meng release the summary of how her poll was conducted.
Finan claimed their internal poll questioned 400 likely voters from a representative demographic block, although the spokesman declined to release additional information until Halloran’s camp further revealed its numbers.
The two have ramped up their campaign appearances in the weeks leading up to the election, with Halloran appearing at a small Whitestone business Tuesday to discuss the economy and touting an endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents state police.
Meng toured a Flushing senior center Monday with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who has been a vocal supporter of the assemblywoman’s campaign.
The two were touting a bill called the Older Americans Act, which provides funding for senior programs to states like New York. Funding for seniors is set to be cut along with other federal expenses if Congress does not make substantial budget reductions by 2013.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.