Democrat Andrew Cuomo seems well on his way to a third term as New York's governor, according to a Siena Research Institute poll conducted in September and released Monday morning.
Cuomo, who defeated actress Cynthia Nixon in the Democratic primary last month, has a 50-28 lead over Republican Marc Molinaro just five weeks before the general election. Nixon, running on the Working Families Party line, has the support of 10 percent of New York's likely voters, while three other minor-party candidates draw a combined 4 percent of support from those polled. Eight percent were still undecided, according to the poll.
"Although Cuomo only has the support of half of voters, a relatively large number of voters, 14 percent, currently say they are planning to vote for one of the four minor-party candidates," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. "Cuomo is doing a better job holding his base, leading Molinaro among Democrats, 77-6 percent, while Molinaro only leads among Republicans, 59-21 percent. Independents favor Cuomo, 39-29 percent, although 21 percent of them say they are supporting one of the other candidates."
The Marc Molinaro for Governor campaign issued a statement later Monday morning criticizing the Siena poll.
"We reject the Siena College poll as part of Andrew Cuomo's corrupt rigged system," states the campaign release. "We aren't commenting on the specific results of today's survey, more fundamentally we are questioning the independence of the pollster. The fact is Siena dramatically altered its historical polling schedule to favor Andrew Cuomo, allowing him to spend upwards of $25 million of his dirty pay-to-play money, in midst of the worst months of his stained governorship, ahead of a general election poll."
Molinaro's campaign noted that Siena had conducted August polls during prior gubernatorial races but conducted no August poll this year.
Greenberg responded to Molinaro's camp Monday afternoon. He noted pollsters get attacked by political campaigns when they don't like the results.
"But of all the absurd comments I've ever seen reacting to a poll, this is the most absurd," Greenberg said. "Their argument is that we didn't have an August poll. OK, I get that, but what's the problem with this poll? Their response is we didn't have an August poll. It really doesn't make a lot of sense. We didn't do a poll on the general election in August because we had a hot Democratic primary going on."
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand holds a 61-29 percent lead over Republican Chele Chiavacci Farley, and Democratic Comptroller Tom DiNapoli had a 58-26 percent edge over Jonathan Trichter.
As for U.S. President Donald Trump, his favorable and unfavorable opinion numbers are 37 percent and 59 percent, respectively, nearly the same as they were in June: 38 percent and 59 percent.
The Siena College poll was conducted Sept. 20-27 by telephone calls in English to 701 random likely New York state voters.