Cuomo's Lead Over Paladino Shrinks in New York Governor's Race, Poll Says

New York Republican candidate for governor Carl Paladino surged in the polls after winning his party’s nomination and now trails Democrat Andrew Cuomo by 6 percentage points, Quinnipiac University said.

A Buffalo real estate developer and Tea Party supporter, Paladino is favored by 43 percent of likely voters, compared with 49 percent for Cuomo, the state attorney general. In late August, before Paladino was the nominee, a Quinnipiac poll had Cuomo leading by 60 percent to 23 percent.

Paladino, 64, won an upset victory in the Republican primary, beating the candidate selected by party leaders. With an “I’m Mad as Hell” campaign slogan, he has promised to clean up Albany with “a baseball bat” and cut taxes by 10 percent and spending by 20 percent in his first year as governor.

“Forty percent of New Yorkers say the most important trait in a candidate is that he’ll ‘bring change,’” Maurice Carroll, director of the university’s polling institute, said in a statement. That’s a “plus” for Paladino, who also benefited from publicity surrounding the Republican primary, Carroll said.

Cuomo, 52, the son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, has been the favorite in polls, even before he officially entered the race in May.

‘Angry Year’

“He might be a victim of the ‘throw the bums out’ attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year,” Carroll said of Cuomo. The attorney general has also promised to cut spending in New York, which faces an $8.2 billion budget gap in the year that begins April 1.

The Quinnipiac survey of likely voters, conducted Sept. 16- 20 following the Sept. 14 primary, showed Cuomo’s lead to be less than the 54-to-38 percent margin in a Rasmussen Reports survey of Sept. 16.

Quinnipiac didn’t include Rick Lazio, the Conservative Party candidate, in questions about voter choices. Lazio lost the Republican nomination to Paladino by 68 percent to 32 percent.

About 18 percent of voters identified themselves as part of the Tea Party movement, which favors lower taxes and less government spending. Among those voters, Paladino had a 4-to-1 lead, according to the poll.

Cuomo had a favorable rating among 51 percent of voters, with 34 percent reporting an unfavorable opinion. Sixty-seven percent said they approved of the job he was doing as attorney general.

Paladino was viewed favorably by 36 percent of voters, with 31 percent unfavorable and 31 percent not knowing enough about him to have an opinion.

Quinnipiac, located in Hamden, Connecticut, surveyed 751 likely voters, and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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