11/20: Governor Cuomo…Take Two?

If New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is seriously considering a bid for New York governor, there may be one less obstacle in his path.  According to published reports, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has decided he will not run for the office, removing Cuomo’s most formidable opponent on his way to the statehouse.  Cuomo has huge leads over fellow Democrat David Paterson for his party’s nomination and Rick Lazio, the only announced Republican candidate.

Andrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo

“Right now, Andrew Cuomo has a clear path to become governor,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Poll. “If he could fast-forward to next November, I’m sure he would.”

Click Here for Complete November 20, 2009 NYS Poll Release and Tables

For months, there has been speculation that Cuomo will challenge Governor David Paterson for the Democratic nomination.

Among Democrats statewide, 72% report they would support Cuomo if the Democratic primary were held today while just 21% say they would vote for Paterson. Little has changed since Marist last asked about a potential Paterson-Cuomo primary face-off in mid-September.

It’s not just the Democrats who want to oust Paterson.  Voters statewide also want a change.  63% of registered New York State voters do not want Paterson to run for governor.  Three in ten, on the other hand, would like to see him seek election.  When Marist last asked this question in its September 24th survey, 63% wanted Paterson to drop out, and 25% wanted him to remain in the contest.

And, although Governor Paterson has launched a media campaign to change his electoral prospects, the television ads have done little to alter the race.  Overall, a majority of voters statewide — 56% — say they’ve seen at least one television ad for Paterson.  But, viewing the ad does not change how voters feel about Paterson’s political future.  65% of voters who say they have watched a Paterson campaign ad say Paterson should not run for governor.  This proportion closely reflects the overall proportion of registered voters who, regardless of whether they have seen an ad or not, do not want the governor to be in the race.

Table: Democratic Primary — Paterson/Cuomo
Table: Should Paterson Run for Governor in 2010
Table: Seen Paterson Campaign Ad

Lazio Crushed by Cuomo…Competitive Against Paterson

Former U.S. Representative Rick Lazio has made no bones about the fact that he wants to be the Republican nominee for governor.  But, how does he stack up against his possible, Democratic opponents?  If Andrew Cuomo were the Democratic nominee and the election were held today, Cuomo would defeat Lazio by an almost three-to-one margin.  Cuomo receives 69% of voters’ support to Lazio’s 24%.  When Lazio is pitted against Governor David Paterson, the race is more competitive.  In fact, voters divide.  44% of the electorate would back Paterson, and 44% would cast their ballot for Lazio.  12% are undecided.  Little has changed in both of these hypothetical matchups since Marist last asked about about them in mid-September.

Table: Cuomo/Lazio 2010 Matchup
Table: Paterson/Lazio 2010 Matchup

Paterson and Cuomo: A Tale of Two Approval Ratings

When it comes to how voters view Paterson and Cuomo’s job performances, the two men fall on opposite ends of the spectrum.

66% of the state’s electorate thinks Cuomo is doing either an excellent or good job in office while just 6% say he is performing poorly.

Cuomo has consistently enjoyed kudos from New York’s electorate.  69% thought he was doing an above average job when Marist last tracked Cuomo’s approval rating in mid-September.  In Marist’s June survey, he received a similar proportion.

While Cuomo is the most popular statewide officeholder, Paterson is the most unpopular.  Just one-fifth of registered voters think Governor Paterson is doing either an excellent or good job in office.  More than one-third — 35% — report he is performing poorly.  When Marist last asked about Governor Paterson’s approval rating in its September 24th survey, the governor hit an all-time low with 17% giving the governor high marks.  44%, at that time, ranked Paterson’s performance as poor.

Table: Cuomo Approval Rating
Table: Paterson Approval Rating

Marist Poll Methodology