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New York Republicans Split Over Paladino, Lazio for Governor, Poll Finds

Republican voters in New York are almost evenly divided over gubernatorial candidates Carl Paladino, a Buffalo real-estate developer and Tea Party supporter, and Rick Lazio, a former congressman from Long Island selected by party officials, according to a Siena Research Institute survey.

Lazio, 52, had the support of 43 percent of likely voters in the Sept. 14 Republican primary, while Paladino, 64, was favored by 42 percent, in a survey with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, pollsters said. Paladino, who’s spent more than $3 million of his own money on the race, trailed Lazio 43 percent to 30 percent in an Aug. 18 Siena poll.

“A heavier than normal Republican turnout upstate will likely hand the nomination to Paladino, who leads upstate 53-32 percent, while a heavier than normal downstate suburban turnout will likely make Lazio the Republican nominee, as he leads there 55-30 percent,” Steven Greenberg, a Loudonville, New York-based Siena College pollster, said in a news release today.

Greenberg said he expects no more than 25 percent of the state’s 2.9 million Republicans will vote in the primary.

Paladino’s support of the Tea Party movement, which opposes government spending and taxes, may not be decisive in the race, Greenberg said. About two-thirds of likely Republican voters have a favorable view of the Tea Party, and Paladino leads among its supporters by 47 percent to 42 percent. Lazio leads among those who view the Tea Party unfavorably or are undecided, Greenberg said.

Margin of Error

The survey results parallel those conducted by Paladino’s campaign. The two candidates were “within the margin of error, plus or minus 4 points,” Michael Caputo, Paladino’s campaign manager, said Sept. 7. Two weeks earlier, he said Paladino trailed Lazio by 8 percentage points.

Paladino, who said he would spend up to $10 million of his $150 million personal fortune to become governor, began a statewide advertising campaign Sept. 1, Caputo said.

Both Lazio and Paladino trail Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate, by a wide margin, according to a poll by Quinnipiac University. Cuomo beat Lazio by 57 percent to 25 percent, and Paladino by 60 percent to 23 percent, in a late August survey. In New York, the third most-populous state, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by almost 2-to-1, according to the state Board of Elections.

The research institute said the telephone survey Sept. 7-9 involved 610 likely Republican voters. The survey included only those who said they were certain to vote in the Sept. 14 election, according to Greenberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Quint in Albany, New York, at mquint@bloomberg.net.

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