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Poll data released by the Siena College Research Institute Wednesday indicates the race for governor could be over before it even starts.
The poll also shows that the Republican U.S. Senate candidates are facing a significant public relations problem – no one knows who they are.
The survey of 788 registered New York voters found that 61 percent of total respondents hold a favorable opinion of Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Of that, 38 percent of Republicans polled hold Cuomo in high regard. Only 32 percent think favorably of GOP standard-bearer Rick Lazio, with Republicans polling at only 47 percent.
Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said the data indicates neither Lazio nor tea party candidate Carl Paladino have been able to find a weakness in Cuomo’s armor. Paladino will primary Lazio for the GOP line.
“Neither Rick Lazio nor Carl Paladino has made a dent in the favorable view voters have of Cuomo. Nor have they made much progress in closing the large electoral gap Cuomo enjoys over both of them,” Greenberg said.
If the election were held today Cuomo would steamroll Lazio by a margin of 60 percent to 26 percent in a head-to-head match-up, according to the poll. 27 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents polled would vote for Cuomo.
In the race for Kirsten Gillibrand’s Senate seat, New York’s junior Senator enjoys the advantage of name recognition.
87 percent of the voters polled have no opinion about GOP Senate challenger David Malpass. This includes 89 percent of Republicans, who said they don’t know enough about Malpass to have an opinion of him.
His Republican challenger in the race for the GOP line, Joe DioGuardi, is in a similar boat. Some 76 percent of respondents have no opinion of DioGuardi, including 71 percent of Republicans.
“For the first time, more voters – 38 percent – would rather elect Kirsten Gillibrand to the Senate seat she was appointed to, rather than the 36 percent who support someone else,” Greenberg said.
Gillibrand would handedly defeat any of her opponents if the election were held on the day the poll was conducted.
The Siena poll was conducted between August 9 and 12 and features a 3.5 percent margin of error.