GOP Candidate's Lead Dwindles in Key NY House Race

The race to fill a vacated House seat in New York has tightened considerably as Democrat Scott Murphy pulled within four percentage points of Republican Jim Tedisco in the Republican-leaning district, according to a new poll.

The survey (PDF), released today by the Siena Research Institute in New York, says Murphy was able to cut his opponent's 12-point lead partly by edging Tedisco on the economy, which poll respondents say is the most important issue.

Asked which candidate would do a better job representing the district in Congress when it comes to the economy, 42 percent of likely voters said they favored Murphy and 38 percent said they favored Tedisco.

If Murphy wins, Tedisco's loss could mean trouble for RNC Chairman Michael Steele, whose leadership of the committee has faced skepticism from several quarters.

The special election, called to fill the seat vacated by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand after her appointment to the Senate seat formerly held by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will take place on March 31.