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Siena Poll: Cuomo Up 29 Points, Schneiderman Loses Ground To Cahill

With election day approaching, Andrew Cuomo maintains his strong lead over Republican challenger Rob Astorino in the race for governor of New York. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, a narrow winner four years ago, appears to be coasting to re-election against Bob Antonacci. But according to the latest poll,  Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is losing ground to challenger John Cahill.

Although his favorability and job performance ratings only fell a few points from last month and are now at the lowest levels they have been since he’s been governor, Andrew Cuomo maintains a large 56-27 percent lead over Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, according to Siena College Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg.  "Cuomo's got a 29-point lead over Astorino - that's down only three points from the 32-point lead Cuomo had over Astorino in the Siena poll six weeks ago. So in the last six weeks, Astorino's barely closed the margin, and with less than six weeks to go, he's got an awfully large uphill road to climb."

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins got seven percent; 10 percent were undecided.  Greenberg says Cuomo's favorability and performance ratings have dropped to the worst Cuomo has had since he's been governor.   "55 percent view Cuomo favorably compared to 40 percent who view him unfavorably. That's the worst favorability rating since he's been governor. 40 percent viewing him unfavorably hasn't been that high for Andrew Cuomo in eight years... His job performance rating as governor, also the worst it's ever been. 42 percent of voters think he's doing an excellent or good job as governor, 56 percent say he's doing only a fair or poor job, and for the first time ever, three times as many voters think Cuomo is doing a poor job, 21 percent of voters say that, compared to those who say he's doing an excellent job, only 7 percent say that."

Astorino has been calling for a series of debates.  WAMC political observer Alan Chartock suspects Cuomo will agree, but only under the "best" conditions:  "Who knows what they're gonna make poor Astorino do. Will it be to wait til right before the election when it won't count. Will it be to make sure that all the minor party candidates are involved in it. These are the old tricks that are always played by the leader."

The Siena poll shows incumbent Tom DiNapoli, supported by three-quarters of Democrats, coasting toward victory over Onondoga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci in the comptroller's race. "DiNapoli's getting a third of the Republicans supporting him. He's got a 2-1 lead with independnet voters. He's leading by 40 points in New York City. He'e leading by 20 points in the downstate suburbs, and he's leading by better than 20 points among upstate voters. So it doesn't appear that Antonacci has gained any traction anywhere in New York."

The poll shows Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's 27-point lead six weeks ago in the last Siena poll over challenger John Cahill, a former top Pataki aide, has shrunk to a 16-point lead: 50 to 34 percent, with 2 percent saying they're going to vote for a different candidate and 13 percent still undecided.  Alan Chartock isn't surprised.  "We do know that the attorney general position in New York State has gotten to be extraordinarily powerful because the person who has it often gets to be governor later on. We've certainly seen that in the past. Now, the Republicans look around for somebody to run. They find this guy John Cahill, who is a very bright man, he's been on this radio station, as has his opponent, as the sitting attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and he presents himself extremely well. He's a moderate. He was Chief of Staff for George Pataki, and you know Pataki's a little over the Republican line but a moderate Republican, and so is Cahill. And people sort of like balanced government.  Whether between now and the early November in the election he can catch up, is anybody's business, but he has certainly shown impressive gain."

Cahill, like Astorino, is calling for debate.  Will Schneiderman risk locking horns with Cahill in public view? Chartock:    "These people are strategic in what they decide. If he thinks that Cahill is coming on so fast that he might lose, then maybe he has to debate him."

The Siena College Poll was conducted September 18th-23rd by telephone calls to 809 likely New York State registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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