U.S. Senate candidates Chuck Schumer and Jay Townsend will faceoff in a debate this Sunday night on the Marist College Campus. And, according to this Marist Poll of New York State voters, Schumer is the odds-on favorite to win re-election. He receives the support of 63% of the state’s likely voters including early voters and those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate while Townsend has 35%. One percent plans to vote for someone else, and 1% is undecided.
Schumer has widened his lead. When Marist last asked about this race in September, 59% of likely voters including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate backed Schumer, 38% supported Townsend, and 3% were undecided. Among likely voters not including those who were leaning toward a candidate, Schumer received 58% to 37% for Townsend. 5% were undecided.
“While many Democratic U.S. Senators are fighting for their political lives elsewhere, that’s not so for Senators Schumer and Gillibrand in New York,” says Dr. Lee M.Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Both lead their GOP challengers.”
Among likely voters including early voters and those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, there is a partisan divide. 94% of likely Democratic voters back Schumer compared with 6% who pull for Townsend. While 62% of likely GOP voters statewide plan to support Townsend, a noteworthy proportion — 35% — say they will cast their ballot for Schumer. A majority of likely non-enrolled voters — 54% — give Schumer the nod compared with 43% who plan to vote for Townsend.
Regardless of region, Schumer leads Townsend. In New York City, 80% support Schumer, 17% are behind Townsend, and 2% back another candidate. In the New York City suburbs, 59% rally behind Schumer while 40% say they will cast their ballot for Townsend. Upstate, Schumer receives 58% of likely voters to 40% for Townsend. One percent is backing another candidate.
Townsend is the favorite among Tea Partiers. 74% of Tea Party supporters who are likely to vote including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate back Townsend while 22% support Schumer.
Among the overall electorate, 68% report they will vote for Schumer, 27% support Townsend, fewer than 1% plans to vote for someone else, and 5% are undecided.
Table: U.S. Senate in New York Tossup – Schumer/Townsend (Likely Voters Including Early Voters and Leaners)
Table: U.S. Senate in New York Tossup – Schumer/Townsend (Registered Voters Including Early Voters)
Most Schumer Supporters Firmly Back Him
Nearly seven in ten likely voters — 68% — report they strongly support their choice of candidate. 26% say they are somewhat behind their selection, and 6% might vote differently. Fewer than 1% are unsure. 63% reported strong support for their candidate last month.
Among likely voters who support Schumer, 76% strongly back him while 19% somewhat support him. 6% might vote differently on Election Day, and fewer than 1% are unsure. In Marist’s previous survey, 70% strongly backed Schumer.
Looking at likely voters who support Townsend, 53% firmly support him, 41% are somewhat behind him, and 6% might change their minds. One percent is unsure. Last month, 52% of likely voters were firmly committed to Townsend.
Seven in Ten View Schumer Favorably … Townsend Unknown
70% of registered voters in New York have a favorable impression of Chuck Schumer while 26% do not. Four percent are unsure. However, 33% of voters perceive Jay Townsend favorably while 31% do not. A notable proportion of voters — 36% — have either never heard of Townsend or are unsure how to rate him.
Gillibrand Leads DioGuardi by 18 Percentage Points Among Likely Voters
In the race between Kirsten Gillibrand and Joe DioGuardi for U.S. Senate in New York, Gillibrand receives the support of 56% of likely voters including early voters and those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. DioGuardi takes 38% of the vote. One percent plans to support someone else, and 5% are undecided.
In Marist’s September poll, 54% of likely voters including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate supported Gillibrand while 42% were behind DioGuardi, and 4% were undecided. Among likely voters not including those leaning toward a candidate, 52% backed Gillibrand compared with 41% who supported DioGuardi. Seven percent were undecided.
Support divides along party lines. Among likely voters including early voters and those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 90% of Democrats plan to pull for Gillibrand while 6% are behind DioGuardi. Among likely Republican voters, 71% say they will cast their ballot for DioGuardi compared with 23% who report they will vote for Gillibrand. Likely non-enrolled voters divide. 45% back the incumbent while 44% plan to support DioGuardi.
Looking around the state, Gillibrand leads DioGuardi in all three regions. 72% of likely voters in New York City support Gillibrand while 20% back DioGuardi. In the suburbs of New York City, Gillibrand takes 51% to DioGuardi’s 44%. Upstate, Gillibrand receives 51% of likely voters’ support to DioGuardi’s 43%.
However, DioGuardi is the candidate of choice for Tea Party supporters. 80% back DioGuardi compared with 15% for Gillibrand. One percent plans to vote for another candidate, and 4% are undecided.
Among the overall electorate, Gillibrand nets 56% while 31% say they will vote for DioGuardi. Fewer than 1% reports they will vote for someone else, and 13% are undecided. Little has changed among registered voters on this question since Marist last asked it.
Table: U.S. Senate in New York Tossup – Gillibrand/DioGuardi (Likely Voters Including Early Voters and Leaners)
Table: U.S. Senate in New York Tossup – Gillibrand/DioGuardi (Registered Voters Including Early Voters)
Candidates’ Strength of Support
Nearly six in ten likely voters — 57% — strongly support their choice of candidate while 35% somewhat support their pick. Seven percent might vote differently on Election Day, and 1% is unsure. Last month, 51%, 35%, 13%, and 1%, respectively shared these opinions.
Among likely voters who back Gillibrand, 59% are strongly committed to her, 32% are somewhat behind her, and 8% might vote differently. One percent is unsure. 54% of voters who are behind DioGuardi vow not to waiver, 39% are somewhat committed to him, and 7% might change their minds on Election Day. Fewer than 1% are unsure.
Gillibrand has received a bump in the proportion of those who strongly support her. In Marist’s previous survey, half — 50% — had this level of intensity. There has been no change in the proportion of DioGuardi backers who say they strongly support him.
59% View Gillibrand Favorably … DioGuardi Unknown
59% of registered voters have a favorable impression of Kirsten Gillibrand while 25% do not. 16% are unsure. Looking at Joe DioGuardi’s favorability, 37% think well of him while 30% do not. 33% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.
53% Approve of Schumer’s Job Performance
A majority of registered voters statewide — 53% — approve of the job Senator Chuck Schumer is doing in office. Included here are 19% who report he is doing an excellent job and 34% who say he is doing a good one. 26% rate Schumer’s job performance as fair while 17% call it poor. 4% are unsure.
Gillibrand’s Approval Rating at 35%
35% of registered voters think Kirsten Gillibrand is doing either an excellent or good job in office. Included here, are 6% who give her an excellent grade and 29% who rate the job she is doing as good. 32% call it fair, and 15% say Gillibrand is performing poorly. 18% are unsure.