By Edith Honan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A special election to replace U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in a sex scandal, heated up on Friday as an opinion poll suggested the Republican candidate might win in an upset.
Republicans are hoping for such an upset in the September 13 special U.S. House of Representatives election in a congressional district where Democrats outnumber Republicans three to one. The race is seen as a referendum on Democratic President Barack Obama's policies.
The contest pits Democrat David Weprin, a state assemblyman from a well-connected political family, against Republican Bob Turner, a retired media executive who won 40 percent of the vote last year in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Weiner.
A Siena Research Institute poll showed Turner ahead of Weprin by 6 percentage points, 50 percent to 44 percent.
The district, which includes parts of Queens and Brooklyn in New York City, has voted Democratic in every congressional election since the 1920s. An August 10 Siena poll had Weprin ahead by 6 percentage points.
Turner spokesman William O'Reilly said voters are fed up and are "speaking to Mr. Obama through this contest."
"Queens and Brooklyn voters of all political parties are sending a terse telegram to President Obama that they are unhappy with his economic agenda and his hostile stance toward Israel," O'Reilly said in a statement. "Today's Siena Poll captures that in a snap-shot."
Weprin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kerr said the campaign comes down to "making sure that folks who work hard and play by the rules have a fair shot at the American dream."
"(Weprin) is focused on making sure voters in Queens and Brooklyn understand Republican Bob Turner's radical agenda to protect corporate tax loopholes while slashing Medicare and Social Security for hard-working New Yorkers," she said in a statement.
Medicare is the government health insurance program for the elderly and Social Security is the U.S. retirement program.
Weiner resigned from the House after being revealed as an Internet womanizer who used Twitter to send lewd pictures of himself. Republicans control the House 240 to 192, with three vacancies. Like the Weiner case, the other two vacancies also stem from lawmakers resigning the House in other sex scandals.
(Editing by Will Dunham)