07/31/12 1:54pm
07/31/2012 1:54 PM

Randy Altschuler, left, and Tim Bishop

In an email to campaign supporters Tuesday, congressional hopeful Randy Altschuler said new polling numbers show Congressman Tim Bishop is in “BIG trouble.”

But Bishop’s camp likened Mr. Altschuler’s poll to little more than a BIG joke.

The poll, which was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, shows Altschuler leading by four points, with 47 percent of likely voters in support of the Republican businessman from St. James and 43 percent in favor of the Southampton Democrat. Ten percent are undecided, the poll shows.

“We just came out of the field with my first poll of the general election and the results confirm what we are all feeling on the ground,” Mr. Altschuler said in his email. “Career politician Tim Bishop is in BIG trouble.”

Bobby Pierce, Communications Director for Bishop for Congress, called the poll a do-it-yourself operation, and he pointed to a New York Times blog post that labeled Pulse Opinon Research polls as “bias and inaccurate.”

Mr. Pierce urged Altschuler’s camp to release polls he said were conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, an international polling and research firm. Campaign finances show that Mr. Altschuler’s campaign has spent more than $50,000 to McLaughlin & Associates since July 2011, including nearly $17,000 in April.

“We haven’t seen them release any poll from them,” Mr. Pierce said. “That’s a real polling company.”

Mr. Pierce said the most recent third-party poll conducted in the race, which many media outlets have pegged as one of the key races around the country this year, shows Mr. Bishop ahead 24 points.

“Randy saw that poll and figured he better buy his own poll,” he said. “You’d think he would buy a little more than a four-point lead.”

Altschuler spokesman Chris Russell said that poll was conducted by the House Majority PAC. “That is effectively an arm of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee,” he said.

Mr. Pierce said the Bishop campaign hasn’t done its own poll since March, but that survey, conducted by Global Strategy Group, had the Congressman ahead by 17 points.

This is not Mr. Altschuler’s first attempt to unseat Mr. Bishop. He lost to an incumbent Mr. Bishop by just 593 votes two years ago, in a vote count that stretched out over several days.

In his email to supporters Tuesday, Mr. Altschuler said he believes the majority of the voting public is on his side this time around.

“After nearly ten years of voting for trillions in higher taxes, more spending and irresponsible debt that has helped to drive more than 30,000 jobs off of Long Island, the people of Suffolk County are tiring of Tim Bishop,” he wrote.

gparpan@timesreview.com