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Q poll: Cuomo doesn't have to worry about race when challenging Paterson

February 08, 2010
There would be no "race problem" for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo if he ran against Gov. David A. Paterson in a Democratic primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last Wednesday.

The poll also showed U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Greenport, would beat possible challenger Harold Ford Jr. in a Democratic Primary, and that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-Brooklyn, is likely to be re-elected.

Contrary to what many Paterson supporters have claimed, the poll shows 80 percent of all voters, and 73 percent of black voters, say the potential Democratic primary between the governor and Cuomo would not be racially divisive.

Only 14 percent of all voters, and 22 percent of black voters, believe Cuomo's challenge would be damaging.

The poll also shows 71 percent of New York state voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing, compared with Paterson's approval rating of 37 percent. Paterson has had low numbers in every survey for nine months, according to the poll.

Cuomo now leads Paterson 55–23 percent among Democrats, compared to his 60–23 percent lead in a Dec. 15 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University. Paterson leads Cuomo 42–34 percent among black Democrats, while Cuomo leads Paterson 66–15 percent among white Democrats.

The poll results also show some bipartisan support for Cuomo, with 19 percent of Republican voters and 86 percent of Democratic voters saying they would vote for Cuomo against Republican challenger Rick Lazio if an election were held now.

Only 9 percent of Republican voters and 65 percent of Democratic voters said they would vote for Paterson versus Lazio if an election were to be held now.

Contrary to the projected opinions of many media outlets and politicians, the poll shows the majority of voters in every political and racial group are not impatient for Cuomo to announce his candidacy. Seventy-eight percent of voters said they were not impatient with the attorney general's delay.

"Does Hamlet on the Hudson run in the family? Unlike the media, New Yorkers aren't impatient for Attorney General Cuomo to admit he's running for governor," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Regarding the race for Gillibrand's Senate seat, the poll shows 40 percent of voters are undecided, with Gillibrand leading Ford 36–18 percent. Gillibrand is said to have a 42 percent approval rating — her highest since she became senator.

Though Gillibrand's approval ratings have increased, 44 percent of voters say they have not heard enough about her to form an opinion. Meanwhile, 70 percent said they have not heard enough about Ford and 84 percent have not heard enough about Bruce Blakeman, the Republican challenger to form an opinion.

Fifty-four percent of voters in the poll said that Schumer deserves to be re-elected to his U.S. Senate seat this year, with 33 percent disagreeing. His current 58 percent approval rating is down 4 percent from December.

Seventy-one percent of voters said they disapprove of the way the state Legislature is handling its job, down 1 percent from a 72 percent disapproval rating in December.

From Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,182 New York state registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points. The survey included 921 Democrats, 142 of whom were black Democrats.

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