7/1: Getting to Know Senator Gillibrand

More than five months after Governor David Paterson appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate, more registered New York State voters have an opinion about Gillibrand’s job performance.  But, is it a good one?  24% currently view Gillibrand as doing either an excellent or good job in office.  This compares with 19% who gave her a similar rating in Marist’s May survey.  The proportion of those who say that Gillibrand is performing poorly is little changed from the one she received in May.  Currently, 13% view her as doing a subpar job compared with 10% at that time.  Although Gillibrand has become better-known among voters, she has a long way to go.  33% of the electorate still does not know how to rate her.  This compares with 43% who reported the same in May.

Table: Gillibrand Approval Rating

Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand Gains Ground in 2010 U.S. Senate Race

When it comes to the 2010 U.S. Senate Race, are the political tides turning in Senator Gillibrand’s direction?  Looking at a couple of hypothetical contests, they just might be.  When Gillibrand is placed up against former New York Governor George Pataki, the two are locked in a tight race.  If the election were held today, Gillibrand garners 46% of the state’s electorate compared with 42% for Pataki.  When The Marist Poll last asked this question in May, Gillibrand trailed the former governor, 38% to Pataki’s 46%.  When pitted against U.S. Representative Peter King, Gillibrand has widened her lead.  48% of voters say they would vote for Gillibrand while 32% report they would back King.  Two months ago, Gillibrand received 42% of the vote to King’s 31%.

Table: 2010 Gillibrand/Pataki Matchup
Table: 2010: Gillibrand/King Matchup

Gillibrand Faces Competition for Nomination in 2010…Pataki Frontrunner for GOP

Before Gillibrand can dig her political heels into a senatorial campaign, she first has to win her party’s nomination.  And, as of now, she has her work cut out for her.  In a hypothetical pairing, Gillibrand is locked in a statistical dead heat with U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney.  37% of Democrats say they would vote for Gillibrand compared with 38% who report they would support Maloney.  One-quarter are unsure.  Two months ago, Gillibrand edged Maloney 36% to 31% with a larger proportion of the electorate — 33% — saying they were unsure.

Is there a potential frontrunner on the Republican side?  Former New York Governor George Pataki claims that title.  He garners a slim majority — 51% — of New York State Republicans when matched up against U.S. Representative Peter King.  King receives 36% of his party’s vote.  In May, Pataki had a 12 percentage point lead over King, 48% to 36%.

Table: 2010 Democratic Primary
Table: 2010 Republican Primary

Marist Poll Methodology

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7/1: Obama Maintains High Marks Among New York State Voters

Complete July 1, 2009 NYS Poll Release and Tables

Complete May 4, 2009 NYS Poll Tables