Republican Jack Martins has some ground to make up if his party is to capture 3rd Congressional District, according to a Democratic poll released Thursday.
Democrat Tom Suozzi leads Martins, an Old Westbury state senator, 52 percent to 36 percent in a survey of 401 likely voters in the Democratic-learning North Shore district.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee commissioned the poll from Global Strategy Group, a prominent Democratic polling and political strategy firm.
The poll, the first published so far in the 3rd District, indicates Martins “faces a difficult uphill climb this November” to take the seat out of Democratic hands, said Bryan Lesswing, a DCCC spokesman.
It also shows the presidential race casting a shadow over the district.
Democrat Hillary Clinton carries a 16-point lead over Republican Donald Trump, and 39 percent of voters said they would be less likely to vote for Martins because he backs Trump. Martins says he is voting for Trump but not endorsing him.
“Given Jack Martins’ past defense of Dean Skelos and continued support for Donald Trump despite his dangerous ideas, it is clear that voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District won’t let Martins get away with putting Trump and his own party before country,” Lesswing said in a statement. Skelos was a Republican state Senate majority before resigning following his conviction on political corruption charges.
While 37 percent of voters polled identified as independents, 48 percent said they would vote for an unnamed Democrat over a Republican for the congressional seat.
More than three times as many voters were familiar with Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive who last ran for office in 2013, than Martins, who is serving his third term in the state Senate.
Martins and Suozzi are set to face off in the Nov. 8 general election, but Martins will first face Philip Pidot in a court-ordered GOP primary on Oct. 6.
Suozzi beat four other Democrats in a June 28 primary.
The poll comes well before the start in late September of $1.1 million worth of TV ads the National Republican Congressional Committee has booked on Martins’ behalf. The buy could help Martins increase his name recognition in the North Shore district stretching from northeast Queens to northwest Suffolk County.
The GOP has also enlisted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) to stump for Martins later this month.
NRCC spokesman Chris Pack and Martins strategist E. O’Brien Murray did not return calls or emails seeking comment on the poll.