Everyone’s talking about the competitive governor’s and senate races in New York, with Carl Paladino surging against Andrew Cuomo and Joe DioGuardi pulling close to Kirsten Gillibrand. Given the nature of this year’s political environment, and Cuomo’s and Gillibrand’s weaknesses (see Hot Air’s analysis here), and given that voters only began to focus on the general election choice after last week’s primary, people shouldn’t be as surprised as they are that these two races now look to be very competitive.

The GOP also has several good prospects for picking up congressional seats in the Empire State. THE WEEKLY STANDARD has learned of the results of a private poll just completed in NY-1 (eastern Long Island). The district has been represented by Democrat Tim Bishop since 2002, when he defeated a Republican incumbent in a close race. Bishop has held the seat by margins of 12, 25, and 17 points in the last three elections. But it’s a swing district—Bush (barely) carried it in 2004, and Obama only won it by 4 points in 2008.

The GOP nominee, an impressive young businessman named Randy Altschuler, just won a tough three-way primary. In accord with my long-standing view that tough primaries don’t hurt and often help candidates in the general election, I can report that the new poll has Altschuler ahead by a couple of points, with about 20 percent undecided. The composition of the undecideds looks demographically good for Altschuler. And the number of voters who believe Bishop deserves reelection is only in the mid-30s. So right now, Altschuler should be considered a slight favorite in this race, and should win if he can come close to matching Bishop’s spending. In Nate Silver’s ratings of likely House pick-ups, NY-1 seems less probable to be a GOP pick-up than at least seventy other congressional districts—another reason to believe the GOP is on course to winning control of the House handily.

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