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News10NBC/Dixie Strategies Poll: Collins maintains lead in 27th Congressional District race

November 01, 2018 11:19 PM

For three-term Republican congressman Chris Collins, re-election was supposed to be a cake walk.

In his deeply red 27th Congressional District, he won his last two races by an average margin of 40 percent. 

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In August, however, Collins was indicted by a federal grand jury  He was charged with wire fraud and lying to the FBI in what authorities say was an insider trading scheme.

Initially, Collins suspended his campaign.

But a few weeks later, he reversed his decision saying he would remain on the ballot and actively campaign for another term.

The scandal has opened the door for Democrats to potentially steal the reliable Republican seat.

Hoping to do that is Nate McMurray, the town supervisor of Grand Island. He announced his candidacy in the spring.

Although he was pressured to step aside for a more well-known candidate even before Collins' legal troubles, McMurray vowed to remain in the race.

Now, many are watching closely to see if he can pull off an upset in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump.

Which brings us to our exclusive poll.

The poll, done in partnership with Dixie Strategies, shows the indicted congressman is still holding onto a lead. 

Collins remains seven points ahead of McMurray, 45 to 38.

However, nearly 17 percent of likely voters are either voting for a third candidate or still haven't made up their minds, and about a third of voters have yet to form an opinion about McMurray.

"Basically, McMurray has got to define himself before Chris Collins defines him," says Brian Graham of Dixie Strategies. "Apparently, Chris Collins has defined him. He's not well known and people who do know him, a lot of them have a negative opinion. As I always say, you can't beat somebody with nobody. And that is where McMurray is finding himself right now." 

There's a lot to sift through with this new poll.

Friday on News10NBC at 5 a.m., we will unveil other insights in this critical race, including what the undecided voters could do to the race results.

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