Five months before Election Day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking strong to win a third term, according to the latest Siena poll released this morning.
The two-term governor has sizeable leads over his opponents. Siena poll spokesman Steve Greenberg says the numbers favor Cuomo over Cynthia Nixon heading toward the Democratic primary, 61-26 percent. "Three months from today is primary day, but she is behind, she is not as well-known as Cuomo. Cuomo is more liked by Democrats and right now Democrats are supporting him. New York City, which will likely produce, has historically has produced, about half the vote in a Democratic primary, there Cuomo leads 63 to 23, a 40-point lead. Among self-described liberals, the group, the progressive group that Cynthia Nixon is aiming for, right now Cuomo leads 65-24, a 31-point lead."
In an April Siena poll, Cuomo led 58-27. "Among Democrats alone, he's got a 67 to 28 percent favorability rating, and that compares to Cynthia Nixon's favorability rating among Democrats 40 to 26," said Greenberg.
Nixon spokesperson Lauren Hitt points out that the governor did not expand his lead by a statistically significant margin from Siena’s last poll in April. "The governor's people pulled out every trick in the book. In the last month they've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads, they had a highly choreographed three-day convention where they brought in lots of national endorsements including Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden and Tom Perez. And despite all that effort, the governor's unfavorability remains the highest it's ever been and Cynthia's favorability increased dramatically among Democrats, liberals and young voters."
The Cuomo campaign did not respond to a request for comment in time for broadcast.
Looking to November, Greenberg notes Republican challenger Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County Executive, remains largely unknown to more than two-thirds of voters. "Among those who know him, 18 percent view him favorably, 11 percent view him unfavorably, but 71 percent of voters don't know enough about Marc Molinaro to have an opinion about him. If the general election were held today, Cuomo has a 19-point lead. 56 percent of likely November voters say they're supporting Cuomo. 37 percent say they're with Molinaro."
Molinaro's team said in an email they are "encouraged" and "pleased" with certain poll findings, but, quoting now, "We are disappointed Siena didn't acknowledge the real potential of a three- or four-way race, which would have shrunk Cuomo's margins even further, but we suspect like so many in this state, they didn't want a threatening call from the governor himself or his aides."
Greenberg says independents are closely divided but leaning toward Cuomo 44 to 43. If Cynthia Nixon were to win the September primary she's also leading, but by a narrower 46 to 35 margin.
Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand holds a 61-28 percent lead over her Republican opponent, Chele Chiavacci Farley. Greenberg says "91 percent of New Yorkers say they don't know enough about her to have an opinion. Among those who do, 5 percent favorable, 4 percent unfavorable. And when we look out to November, right now Gillibrand has a convincing 61 to 28 percent lead among likely voters over Farley."
Democrat Tom DiNapoli has been the New York State Comptroller for more than 11 years... "...and despite that, more than half of the voters of this state don't know enough about him to have an opinion, or don't know him at all. Among those who do, 32 percent view DiNapoli favorably, 15 percent view him unfavorably, a better than 2-to-1 favorability rating. Jonathan Trichter, his Republican opponent, unknown to 91 percent of New Yorkers. Those who know him, 5 percent view him favorably, 5 percent view him unfavorably."
DiNapoli currently has a 56 to 22 percent lead over Trichter in the general election.
Siena polled 745 likely voters by landline and cell phone June 4 through June 7. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points. View the crosstabs here.