Published reports out today have squelched the long-standing rumors that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will run for governor of New York State.
But, what if Giuliani makes a bid for the U.S. Senate? Giuliani leads U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democrat appointed by Governor David Paterson to fill the vacant seat left by Hillary Clinton. 54% of registered voters statewide would vote for Giuliani compared with 40% who would support Gillibrand. Even one-third of Democrats report they would back the Republican challenger, and Giuliani runs competitively against Gillibrand in overwhelmingly Democratic New York City.
Gaining the nomination for U.S. Senate does not appear to pose a problem either. By nearly a three to one margin, Giuliani would be the Republicans’ pick when matched up against former New York State Governor George Pataki. If the Republican primary were held today, he would receive 71% of the vote to Pataki’s 24%.
“It’s good news for Andrew Cuomo and Rick Lazio but potentially a huge problem for Kirsten Gillibrand,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Poll, “If Giuliani were to capture the U.S. Senate seat from heavily Democratic New York State, it would return him to the national spotlight big time.”
Opting Out of Gubernatorial Race…Good Decision?
Although Giuliani may have easily defeated Governor David Paterson, he would have faced stiff competition from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. According to the latest Marist Poll, among registered voters, Giuliani receives 60% to Paterson’s 35%. Support for Giuliani has been rock solid in this hypothetical matchup. When Marist last stacked Giuliani up against Paterson, the candidates received similar proportions of the electorate.
However, when up against New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a majority of voters – 53% — would back Democrat Cuomo to 43% for Giuliani. These proportions are also unchanged from Marist’s September 16th survey.
Rudy’s Exit Opens Door for Lazio
Giuliani’s decision has breathed new life into former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio’s campaign for the GOP nomination for governor. Had Giuliani entered the contest, 84% of Republicans in New York State say they would have voted for him while only 13% report they would have cast their ballot for Lazio. In Marist’s September 16th poll, similar proportions of the GOP thought this way.