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The Siena Poll, The Fall Election And The Cuomo Factor

New polls show two Republican challengers leading Democratic incumbents in key New York State Senate races. The Siena College polls released this morning show Susan Serino leading Sen. Terry Gipson in the mid-Hudson Valley and George Amedore ahead of Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk closer to the Capital Region.

The November vote could hand Dutchess County legislator Susan Serino the Senate seat currently occupied by Democratic first-term Senator Terry Gipson in the race to represent the 41st Senate District, which covers parts of Dutchess and Putnam counties. Gipson won the seat two years ago in a three-way contest after longtime Republican Senator Steve Saland lost the Conservative party primary after voting in favor of same-sex marriage.

Pollster Steve Greenberg says the Republican Serino leads Gipson 52 to 40 percent.     "When we look at the top of the ticket, we see a very close race in the 41st Senate district. Andrew Cuomo barely ahead of Rob Astorino. Cuomo right now with the support of 45 percent of voters and a negated favorability rating. Astorino who has a break-even favorability rating, has the support of 42 percent of voters, only 3 points behind Cuomo. But what we also see here is that voters, by a 64 to 37 per cent margin, say that the state is headed in the wrong direction rather than on the right track. By a 54 to 34 percent margin, voters in this district say they have an unfavorable view of the state senate. All told, these factors are very much working in Serino's favor right now."

"The Cuomo Factor" takes on increased importance in the 46th Senate District, where, in 2012, Republican Assemblyman George Amedore lost to Democrat Ceceilia Tkaczyk, after numerous recounts and court battles, by 18 votes.  The Siena poll shows Amedore leading Tkaczyk 52 to 42.   Amedore is encouraged by the poll numbers. "In the next 4 weeks I'm going to continue to work hard" while the Tkaczyk camp downplayed the results. Spokesman Jim Plastiras: “Senator Tkaczyk's campaign is just swinging into high gear.”

In the 46th, the Senate’s newest district that includes Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties, gubernatorial challenger Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino leads Andrew Cuomo, 43 to 35 percent, with 11 percent for Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins.     "Andrew Cuomo in this district right now has a 2 to 1 unfavorable rating. Only 32 percent of voters view Cuomo favorably, compared to 63 percent who view him unfavorably. In the last Siena poll in this district two years ago, on November 1, right before Election Day, at that time Andrew Cuomo had a 76 favorable, 19 percent unfavorable rating. It has completely turned on its heel."

The polls surveyed from 460 to 471 registered voters last week, with margins of error of about 4.5 percent

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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