The latest Siena poll finds New York state registered voters head-over-heels for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. In head-to-head match-ups with her potential Republican opponents, she leads by overwhelming double-digit margins. Photo by Gazette file photo.
June 18, 2012A poll released last week finds New York state registered voters are fawning over U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who, according to the results, is poised to comfortably cruise to re-election over any of her three potential Republican opponents.
The poll, conducted by the Siena College Research Institute, finds 50 percent of registered voters surveyed have a favorable opinion of New York's junior senator, with a mere 24 percent expressing an unfavorable view. Even a plurality of registered Republicans, by a 37 to 32 percent margin, give Gillibrand, D-Brunswick, a thumbs-up.
In the race for the Republican nod to challenge Gillibrand, Brooklyn Rep. Bob Turner leads Manhattan attorney Wendy Long by a 16 to 11 percent margin, with Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos trailing far behind at an anemic 3 percent. A hefty 70 percent of registered Republicans remain undecided on the primary. Gillibrand, according to the poll, maintains a gigantic lead over all three Republicans.
"The Republican primary winner will have a lot of work ahead of him or her as Gillibrand currently leads Turner by 38 points, Maragos by 42 points and Long by 43 points," said Steven Greenberg, Siena pollster. "Five months is a long time in the political world but a 40 point deficit against a popular incumbent is hard to overcome."
In a 2010 special election, Gillibrand defeated former Westchester Rep. Joseph DioGuardi by a 28 percent margin.
The survey finds a significant geographical divide in the Republican primary, with Turner racking up a 40 point lead over Maragos in New York City and Long leading Turner by 8 percent upstate. Self-described conservatives break heavily for Turner, with self-described moderates leaning toward Long.
In terms of Republican endorsements, Turner has the backing of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, while Maragos is backed by Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre. Long has endorsements from out-of-state figures including publisher Steve Forbes and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.
Long has already won the endorsement of the Conservative Party of New York, but she is not guaranteed their ballot line should she fail to prevail in the Republican primary. In 2010, for instance, the Conservative Party endorsed former Rep. Rick Lazio over businessman Carl Paladino. After Paladino staged an upset in the GOP primary, however, the party dropped Lazio and gave Paladino the ballot line.
Gillibrand has locked down the Working Families Party and Independence Party of New York State ballot lines.
The poll, conducted from June 3 to June 6, surveyed 807 New York state registered voters and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points. For the GOP primary, 201 registered Republicans were surveyed and that data includes a margin of error of 6.9 percentage points.