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Foss: Poll results look good for Cuomo

Foss: Poll results look good for Cuomo

I had hoped either Nixon or Molinaro would at least give Gov. Cuomo a good run for his money 
Foss: Poll results look good for Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the state Capitol in Albany on April 5, 2017.

Is the 2018 gubernatorial election already over? 

The answer appears to be yes, if the latest Siena Research Institute poll is to be believed. 

Polls don't always get it right, as the results of the 2016 presidential election will attest, but the Siena poll is a good one. 

If it shows Gov. Andrew Cuomo with commanding double-digit leads over his opponents, I'm inclined to think that his re-election is all but assured.

There's still time for his challengers to gain traction, of course, but it won't be easy: Only 11 percent of likely voters say they're undecided in the Democratic primary race between Cuomo and actress/activist Cynthia Nixon. 

Nixon has enlivened the race, but it's time for those of us hoping for real competition to admit the facts: Cuomo has expanded his lead to 35 points over Nixon. 

He has the support of almost two-thirds of Democrats in New York City and more than three-quarters of voters in downstate suburbs. His lead is narrower upstate, but big enough that it's difficult to see Nixon closing the gap.  

Despite my urging that she develop a stronger platform for upstate, her campaign messaging is mainly geared toward downstate progressives, with an emphasis on New York City's rundown subway system and the need for rent justice in the metropolitan area. 

Those are good issues to highlight, but of little interest for those of us more concerned about the state of our crumbling infrastructure, high property taxes and anemic job growth. 

In failing to appeal more directly to upstate voters, Nixon has missed an opportunity to present a viable alternative to the governor and the status quo he represents. 

The Siena poll also showed Cuomo with a 19-point lead over his likely Republican opponent, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. 

Whether this gap can be closed remains to be seen, but I'm betting no. 

More than two-thirds of likely voters were unfamiliar with Molinaro, and it will be difficult for him to overcome his lack of name recognition in such a solidly Democratic state. 

He has attacked Cuomo on corruption, and while this is an issue I care about, I'm not sure the vast majority of voters share my concern. If they did, Cuomo would be struggling in the polls, damaged by the corruption trials unfolding as a result of his signature economic development programs. 

But that's not what's happening. 

Instead, the governor appears to be solidifying his support, his base largely untroubled by the shadier aspects of his administration.  

It's a strange thing, the griping you hear about New York politicians and the ease with which most of them coast to re-election. 

I had hoped either Nixon or Molinaro -- or maybe even both of them -- would at least give Cuomo a good run for his money. 

They still could, of course. 

But the dismal poll results suggests they're not up to the task. 

Reach Sara Foss at [email protected]. Opinions expressed here are her own and not necessarily the newspaper's.


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