The Washington Times - August 20, 2012, 01:09PM

Democratic Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul of upstate New York is locked in a tight re-election battle, trailing Republican challenger Chris Collins by a razor-thin margin, a new poll says.

Ms. Hochul trails Mr. Collins 47 percent to 45 percent in a Buffalo News/WGRZ-TV/Siena College Research Institute survey, the results of which were released Sunday. But since the poll’s margin of error is 3.9 percentage points, the race is a statistical tie.

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In the Erie County portion of the district — which includes suburban Buffalo— the candidates are even at 47 percent, while Mr. Collins holds a slim edge of 46 percent to 44 percent in the remainder of the district.

The incumbent has the support of eight in 10 Democrats, while almost three-quarters of Republicans are backing Mr. Collins, a former Erie County executive. But independent voters favor the Republican by a 47-41 margin.

Ms. Hochul “finds herself in a race that couldn’t get much tighter now and looks like it will remain a barnburner over the course of the next 11 weeks,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.

Ms. Hochul is facing her first re-election in a newly redrawn district. She won a special election last year to succeed former Rep. Chris Lee, who resigned in disgrace after a shirtless photo of the married congressman, a Republican, was sent to a woman through the website Craigslist.

In the presidential race, the survey shows that presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney holds a 12 percentage point lead over President Obama in the district, including a 13-point edge among independent voters.

Almost nine in 10 Collins supporters are backing Mr. Romney, while three-quarters of Hochul backers are with Mr. Obama, the poll says. But almost one in five of Hochul supporters says they’ll vote for Mr. Romney.