Huge difference between polls in N.Y. gov race

Jessica M. Karmasek Sep. 23, 2010, 2:36pm


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A new Siena College poll released Thursday shows New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo leading his GOP opponent Carl Paladino by more than 30 percentage points -- just a day after another poll claimed the race had narrowed dramatically.

According to the Siena poll, the Democrat Cuomo leads Paladino by a 57 to 24 percent margin among registered voters, with Conservative Party candidate Rick Lazio bringing up the rear at 8 percent.

The poll's results are vastly different than those of a Quinnipiac University survey of likely voters released Wednesday. That survey had Cuomo ahead of Paladino, a developer from Buffalo, by a much slimmer 49 to 43 percent.

"After his lopsided victory in the Republican primary, Paladino is now better known by New York voters -- but not necessarily better liked, other than by Republican and conservative voters," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement.

"The good news for Paladino is that since last month, he has picked up 10 points against Cuomo. The bad news is that he remains far behind, trailing Cuomo by 33 points, while Lazio siphons off 8 percent of the anti-Cuomo vote."

But Greenberg said there's still hope for Paladino.

"In campaign terms, 40 days is a lifetime so there's time for Paladino to connect with voters and turn this race around, as his Republican primary performance proves. However, he has a very big hill to climb," the Siena pollster said.

Greenberg said voters see Cuomo, the current New York Attorney General, as much stronger on issues such as jobs, state budget deficits and education.

According to Thursday's poll results, Cuomo leads Paladino by about 40 points on education and health care and has a better than 20-point lead on jobs, state government ethics and the state budget, and about a 10-point edge on property taxes and state taxes.

Cuomo also has big leads among Democrats and Independents, though 25 percent are unsure who they're voting for yet.

Paladino is strongest among Republicans, though a quarter of GOP voters say they are prepared to vote for Cuomo.

According to the Siena poll, voters also rank Cuomo as the "more effective candidate."

"While they are split on whether Paladino's business experience and temperament are what New York needs in its next governor, they do believe Cuomo has the right experience and know-how for the office," the survey found.

The poll was conducted Sept. 16-17, 19-21 by telephone calls to 801 New York registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Another poll on the governor's race is set to be released Friday morning, this one by Marist College. It also is said to show Cuomo with a commanding lead.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at

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