By Robert J. McCarthy
Two top political prognostication web sites are now moving the hot congressional race between Democrat Kathleen C. Hochul and Republican Chris Collins from "toss-up" to the "leaning Republican" category.
The reports come from the Rothenberg Political Report and Sabato's Crystal Ball.
The Rothenberg report reads:
Rep. Kathy Hochul may still be the best candidate Democrats have in the Empire State, but the dynamics of the most GOP district in the state appear to be moving against her in a solid way. Republican Chris Collins has improved his standing among the GOP, especially in critical Erie County, and some Democrats privately admit this may be moving away from them as well. The self-funding Collins now has a narrow edge, though with outside groups on both sides still spending big here, this race is far from over.
The Sabato report reads:
There’s little question that 2011 special election winner Rep. Kathy Hochul (D) is a better candidate than ex-Erie County Executive Chris Collins (R). But this Western New York district is the most Republican in the state, and even though the race is tied — 47 percent to 47 percent in a recent Siena poll — it just seems like Collins, as the Republican, has a clearer path to victory, even though Hochul has a three-quarters of a million dollar cash-on-hand advantage over Collins and an appealing personal style. But sometimes the district fundamentals are just too tough, and this is territory where President Obama only got 44 percent of the vote in 2008.