Congressional Straw Poll Hints at Who’s Ahead in NY-19


Courtesy Kingston Creative.
Check out their insights on the 19th here.

A straw poll surveying an online group of activists and political junkies shows Gareth Rhodes leading the seven democratic primary candidates in New York’s 19th Congressional District, with Dave Clegg taking second.

The poll was open to the members of the Facebook Group “Listen to us, John Faso,” a community board that has become a hotbed of dissent against the current republican congressman and a place to argue over the attributes and deficiencies of the democratic candidates looking to unseat him.

The group has 2,200 members, including independent journalists, chairs of local and county democratic committees, and most of the candidates.

The poll asked members to assign a number to each candidate depending on how likely they would vote for them — a “one” for who they would most likely vote for, all the way down to a “seven,” for who they would least likely vote for.

Each candidate was then ranked by their average score.

The NY-19 poll is not “scientific” — it did not survey a mathematically accurate cross-section of potential primary voters, so it should be taken with a couple grains of salt. The number of participants was also relatively small, with 203 members responding. However, the motivated, involved group could well be reflective of the primary voting population has a whole, which tends to be more informed and politically active than voters during larger elections.


The final results from the straw poll, which ranks candidates by the average scores given by voters.

Rhodes was ranked highest in the poll, with an average score of 2.4.

Rhodes was born and raised in a Bruderhof community outside New Paltz and attended CUNY on Pell Grants before working in New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press office, eventually becoming Cuomo’s traveling press secretary.

He is in the midst of driving a Winnebago to all 163 communities in the district to spread his message, which includes environmentalism, overhauling the student loan system, and job growth.

Clegg received the second-highest score at 3.3, a significant drop from Rhodes.

Clegg, a Kingston-based lawyer, has contributed significantly to the district in his almost 40 years in the region, serving on the boards of altruistic organizations, working with homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and doing outreach through his position as the deacon of St. James United Methodist Church in Kingston.

Using mostly his own money, Clegg is running on a platform of infrastructure improvements, “green collar” jobs, and passing the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, a universal single-payer system.

Brian Flynn, a Greene County businessman and activist, received an average score of 3.5, barely edging out Antonio Delgado, a Schenectady-born lawyer, who received a score of 3.6.

Pat Ryan, a businessman and Iraq veteran, received significantly less than Delgado, with an average score of 4.5.

Bringing up the rear were former diplomat and teacher Jeff Beals, with a score of 5.2, followed by Erin Collier, a Cooperstown native and economist.


The full results from the poll.

The poll was open for four days, said Zach Feuer, an administrator of the group and the poll’s creator.

Feuer defined “Listen to Us, John Faso,” as an “activist group” that “leans left more than the general population.”

The group has spent significant time vetting the candidates, Feuer said.

“We’ve spent a lot of time as a group working and dissecting and picking apart the candidates,” he said. “I think the majority of the people voted for who they think is the most electable.”

Rhodes and Clegg placed at the top because they were the only ones without some issue that would be “a general election hindrance,” Feuer theorized.

Each member of the group was allowed one swing at the poll, and multiple votes from the same IP address were deleted, Feuer added.

The raw data from the poll, sans email addresses, was made available to The Other Hudson Valley for verification purposes.

Minus a couple of online straw polls asking which candidate had done best in individual candidate forums, this is the only publicly available poll in the NY-19 primary to date.

This post has been corrected to reflect the healthcare bill Clegg supports. It is the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, H.R. 676, not the Medicare for all Act of 2017, S.1804.


7 thoughts on “Congressional Straw Poll Hints at Who’s Ahead in NY-19

  1. I think it was grossly irresponsible for you to publish this, even with all the caveats. I’ve gone to 5 CD19 Dem candidate forums and 4 meet and greets and I have never met anyone who supports Gareth Rhodes, a nice guy who, in my educated opinion, is unelectable. His only experience is with Gov Cuomo whom even Democrats hate. IMO, Faso would demolish him.

    • To Judith Simon: You may quibble with the way the poll was conducted, e.g., the question, the population surveyed, the instrument, etc., but the fact that you have never met anyone who supports Gareth Rhodes is sometimes known as a mother-in-law survey. In that procedure, the pollster asks her mother-in-law the question and goes forward with that result. It also brings to mind Ben & Jerry’s marketing research in Moscow when they were determining whether to open a store. They said they stepped outside and saw a lot of people who like ice cream. In that case intuition worked, but B&J had the advantage of knowing that the only flavor available in Moscow at the time was vanilla.

      • I would note that it seemed like the group had a lot of Rhodes supporters in the first place – so it was something of a mother-in-law survey. Very hard to draw conclusions about how Mr. Rhodes would fair in the general election from that survey. Kudos to him for publicizing it – he has rightly identified electability as a key factor in deciding for whom to vote. It is still probably too early to really draw conclusions right now. Not to say that it should be the only consideration, but it would be very helpful to have more scientific candidate vs. Faso polling later in June to inform our decisions for the primary.

  2. I agree with Judith but not for the same reason. This is nothing but a survey of a closed Facebook Group of which barely 10% of the members even voted. It is not a poll. And as soon as it was posted a candidate used it for political purposes. That candidate has lost my support and he was in my top three.

  3. Why do you think your sample of people you meet is more accurate and postabe than one of people who oppose Faso?

  4. I showed the poll numbers to my 26 year old niece who has been meeting Rhodes supporters in her work and social circles. Her take is that Millenials are more likely to participate in a Face Book survey and are supporting Rhodes because of his youth.

  5. What we need is to nominate an unelectable left wing freak to send a statement to the world. A statement that says despite having the biggest idiot in presidential history WE will go out of our way to shoot ourselves in the foot. Beals then is the perfect candidate. His Policy of Dudeism will end well…for trump.

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