If former New York Governor George Pataki chooses to challenge Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her seat in the U.S. Senate this fall, he would prove to be her most formidable opponent.
If the race for U.S. Senate in New York were held today, Pataki would receive 47% of the New York electorate’s vote to Gillibrand’s 45%. 8% are unsure. Little has changed on this question since Marist last asked it in its March 2nd survey. At that time, Pataki led Gillibrand, 48% to 45%, respectively. 7% were unsure.
“Former Governor Pataki is the big unknown for Gillibrand,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, “With her approval rating at 27%, Gillibrand will almost certainly have her work cut out for her if Pataki enters the race.”
And, then there were three. Take Pataki out of the equation, and Gillibrand’s chances become a lot brighter. When matched up against Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman, Gillibrand bests Blakeman by more than two-to-one. The senator receives 54% of the vote to Blakeman’s 25%. 21% are unsure.
Joining Blakeman in the field of Republicans who have announced their candidacy for U.S. Senate in New York are Joseph DioGuardi and David Malpass. How do they fare against Gillibrand? If November’s election were held today, Gillibrand would be victorious.
She receives 54% of the vote when pitted against DioGuardi who garners 27%. 19% are unsure. Against Malpass, Gillibrand takes the same proportion – 54% — to his 25%. 21%, here, are unsure.
Pataki Makes the Difference Among NYS GOP
When looking at the field of Republican candidates without Pataki, there is no clear frontrunner. A whopping 59% of GOP voters are unsure. 18% of GOP voters report they would support DioGuardi, 10% would back Blakeman, and 9% would back Malpass. Had Dan Senor chosen to run, he would have gotten support from 4% of New York State Republicans.
When Pataki enters the picture, however, he leaves the competition in the dust. 62% of Republicans statewide say they would support Pataki in the primary. DioGuardi comes in a very distant second with 7%, Blakeman receives 4%, and Malpass takes home 2%. 23% are unsure. In this hypothetical contest, Senor would have garnered 2%.