Grant Reeher, a political science professor at Syracuse University and host of “The Campbell Conversations,” explained that because it’s expected to be a close race between Balter and Katko — they are tied at 45% in the new Siena College/Syracuse.com poll — Williams could affect the outcome “if he tends to draw more heavily on voters who, if forced to choose between the two major party candidates, would have chosen one candidate more than the other.”
But, he added, there is a question of whether that will happen in this race and which candidate, Balter or Katko, would benefit in that scenario.
There are voters who could choose Williams for different reasons, according to Reeher.
“First, there may be some voters in the middle who are just very turned off by the barrage of attack ads from both sides,” he wrote in an email to The Citizen. “In terms of Katko v. Balter, these voters may split about evenly as a group, and many might have not voted for this particular office if there wasn’t a third party alternative … So the ‘protest’ in that case may be over the campaign itself.”
Reeher also outlined scenarios in which Williams could take votes from Balter and Katko. There may be voters who supported Katko in the past but now won’t vote for him because he has endorsed President Donald Trump for reelection. These voters are looking for an alternative, but may think Balter is too progressive.