FialaDemocrat Barbara Fiala is blaming her low poll numbers on being outspent four to one by her Republican opponent Fred Akshar, and on the quality of the poll itself.

Time Warner Cable News and Siena College released the results of an exclusive poll Wednesday evening that found Fiala trailing Akshar by 52 points.

Fiala says the poll’s method is partly to blame for the divide, but admitted to TWC News reporter Emily Lorsch Thursday afternoon “I really haven’t read it through.”

“After looking at the questions, I have to question how some of them were written and you know, I don’t put a lot of stock in polls,” Fiala said.

When prompted on which questions she was referring to, Fiala pointed to a local issue.

“One of the questions was, ‘who do you think would better fight heroin?’ … and that’s been what his whole campaign was about,” Fiala said.

Voters were asked in September who they thought would do a better job at combating the heroin epidemic if elected. In that poll, 67 percent of voters thought Akshar would handle the issue better, compared to 18 percent for Fiala.There were no questions regarding heroin on the poll released yesterday.

Included in yesterday’s poll was a high unfavorable rating for the former Broome County Executive, but Fiala says she’s not giving up just yet.

“Would I have liked to see different numbers? Absolutely. But that’s not going to change my focus and what I plan to do until Tuesday. I’ve said all along, you’re going to judge the candidate by their integrity and their honesty and I think that says a lot about the difference between our two campaigns.”

Another big difference between the two campaigns – money. As of last Monday, Fiala’s campaign had raised just a third of what the Akshar had, and the Broome County Undersheriff is burning through the money fast. He’s spent four times what Fiala has over the course of the campaign, according to the latest numbers from the State Board of Elections.

“[Fred] has a million dollars and you know, it’s like, he’s fighting with a machine gun and I have a bow and arrow – not even that, a slingshot,” Fiala said. “So that says a lot about what has happened in this campaign, the special interests in this campaign. When I say special interests I’m talking about downstate lobbysists and I think money has played a very big part.”

Akshar, in turn, says he owes his success in the poll to his campaign.

“I think it’s clear that we’ve run a very positive issues-based campaign,” Akshar said, “and the people in the Southern Tier, it’s clear in this latest poll, are looking for someone who’s going to be their champion, someone who’s going to serve with dedication and passion and that’s what I intend to do.”

Neither campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. Fiala’s campaign has attempted to smear Akshar for collecting more than $100,000 in overtime on top of his salary. Akshar’s campaign has also recently accused Fiala of raising taxes 33 percent as Broome County Executive.

More voters perceived Fiala’s campaign as negative according to yesterday’s poll, but Fiala says that’s not true.

“We did not bring a lot of that negative out and they just pound, pound, pound,” Fiala said. “They pound me about me height, they pound me about my age. He always has emphasized that and I think that speaks to how he feels about women.”

Akshar didn’t have anything to say about Fiala personally Thursday, but did offer his take on how the governor’s low favorability in the district may have tipped the scales.

“It certainly can. I did see the governor’s numbers are not very good here,” Akshar said. “That may have attributed to some of that.”

Fiala disputes that, saying the governor’s endorsement was a no-brainer from the start.

“Certainly he would support me, somebody who had served in his cabinet – served him well,” Fiala said. “So at the end of the day, I’m not running against or with the Governor.”

Governor Cuomo put his weight behind Fiala following the conviction of former Senator Tom Libous on a felony corruption charge. Since then, Cuomo has donated $11,000 to Fiala’s campaign. She has not received financial support from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, while her Republican opponent’s party has been generous.

“The poll itself tells me that you can really buy an image,” Fiala said. “I learned that through this campaign. I’m relying on the voters and my record.”

Voters, however, have seemed to side with Akshar – at least for now.

“A poll is simply a snapshot of a couple of days so I’m taking nothing for granted,” Akshar said. “I’m leaving nothing to chance, leaving no stone unturned and I’ll continue to work hard through election day.”