New York 26: Move to Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic

May 16, 2011 · 11:11 AM EDT

With a week to go until the May 24 special election in New York’s open 26th C.D., Democrat Kathy Hochul now looks well-positioned to pull off a significant upset.

Both parties agree that the race remains close – “within the margin of error” is the phrase most often used – and Republican Jane Corwin certainly has a chance to energize and turnout GOP voters in this Republican-leaning district. But Democrats seem more enthusiastic right now.

After a series of focused attacks in the paid and earned media, Republicans apparently have succeeded in bringing down self-proclaimed Tea Party candidate Jack Davis’s numbers to a place where the race should be winnable for Corwin.

But those one-time Davis voters are not going immediately to Corwin, raising new doubts about the Republican’s ability to grow her support in the final week. More importantly, Hochul appears to have solidified her image and even increased her share of the vote.

Democrats have been pounding Corwin for supporting Wisconsin Cong. Paul Ryan’s budget, including dramatic changes to Medicare. Those attacks apparently have made it difficult for Corwin to attract disaffected Davis voters.

Challenged with fighting a two-front war against two well-financed candidates, Republicans are pivoting away from attacking Davis and toward Hochul, attacking her on Medicare and Social Security. But there are now so many ads on the air that cutting through could be a challenge.

The race remains very competitive, but time is simply running out for the GOP to change the dynamic of the race, especially given the Democrats’ enthusiasm edge in the district.

We’re moving the race from Lean Republican to Toss-Up/Tilt Democratic.