Polling data can bring a lot of attention to any given political race — especially this time of year — and that can certainly be said about the 27th Congressional District.
Republican candidate Chris Collins and his indictment on insider trading charges has brought in a lot of national interest and outside money.
Our Spectrum News/Siena College poll shows a statistical dead heat between Collins and his Democratic challenger Nate McMurray.
"I've conducted polls, I've worked with a lot of pollsters," said Democratic political consultant Jack O'Donnell.
Analyzing and responding to polls is an important part of Jack O'Donnell's job, but any political consultant knows what a voter says to a pollster now may not always reflect who they vote for on Election Day.
"If you're a Republican and you're angry with Chris Collins, maybe you're not that happy with Donald Trump — it's a lot easier to say that to a pollster than pulling that lever on Election Day," said O'Donnell.
While supporters of McMurray are touting our poll that shows a virtual tie in the race for New York's 27th Congressional District, O'Donnell says McMurray should wait before ordering those plane tickets to Washington, D.C.
The 27th is the most Republican-leaning congressional district in all of New York and came out big for Donald Trump in 2016. So the fact that McMurray is even in striking distance of incumbent Republican Chris Collins says a lot.
"What it tells us is it's a very close race," said Republican political consultant Vic Martucci.
Martucci says what the poll doesn't show is who has the momentum.
"We don't know if there's a strong trend towards McMurray or if the electorate has been stagnant since the announcement of the indictment of Congressman Collins," Martucci said.
For a sitting congressman facing insider trading charges, a renegotiated trade deal with Canada and a galvanizing fight for the Supreme Court are national issues that could send Republican voters to polls to vote party line.
"What he's saying is vote for Chris Collins to protect the Trump presidency," Martucci said.
"If you're Nate McMurray, you want to make this about Nate versus Chris. Indicted versus not indicted. So we'll see how that goes and who's going to win with that narrative," O'Donnell said.
And of course, someone's opinion today could change by November 6th.
"It's a snapshot in time and that snapshot is three weeks before Election Day," O'Donnell said. "The real poll will count in three weeks."
To reiterate, our poll shows Collins with 46-43 percent advantage — well within the margin of error — and while McMurray's camp points out that could show the race is tied both O'Donnell and Martucci warn that could go the other way and Collins' lead could be larger at six points.