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Cuomo Leads in Governor Race by 33 Points, Siena Says

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Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s Democratic candidate for governor, Andrew Cuomo, leads Republican Carl Paladino by 33 percentage points, according to a Siena Research Institute poll.

The lead for Cuomo, 52, contrasts with a Quinnipiac University survey published yesterday which showed him leading by 6 percentage points. The Siena survey covered registered voters while Quinnipiac polled registered voters who said they were likely to cast a ballot.

In the new poll, Cuomo was backed by 57 percent of those surveyed, with 24 percent favoring Paladino and 8 percent for Rick Lazio, the Conservative Party candidate. Lazio said yesterday he hasn’t decided how vigorously he will campaign. Republican gubernatorial candidates usually have Conservative Party backing.

“Voters see Cuomo as much stronger on issues, including the three issues voters most want the next governor to address - - jobs, state budget deficits and education,” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement.

Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said this month that polls of likely voters are more accurate because they account for the enthusiasm of his supporters. Republican turnout in this year’s primaries exceeded Democrats’, indicating that “Democrats will suffer major losses” in the Nov. 2 election, according to an American University report.

Getting to Know Them

The Siena poll covered registered rather than likely voters because “they don’t know the candidates well enough to have a clear idea about whether they are going to vote,” Greenberg said in an interview. Surveys closer to the Nov. 2 election will cover likely voters, he said.

Paladino, 64, is a Buffalo real-estate developer and Tea Party supporter. He won an upset Sept. 14 in the Republican primary, beating Lazio, the candidate selected by party leaders. With an “I’m Mad as Hell” slogan, he has promised to clean up Albany with “a baseball bat” and to cut taxes 10 percent and spending 20 percent in his first year as governor.

The Tea Party movement, which opposes many taxes and much current government spending, is viewed unfavorably by 49 percent of New Yorkers, and favorably by 34 percent, the poll said. Tea Party supporters favored Paladino over Cuomo by 53 percent to 23 percent with 14 percent for Lazio. Those with an unfavorable view of the Tea Party favored Cuomo over Paladino by 82 percent to 6 percent, the poll showed.

Democratic Stronghold

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by 5.79 million to 2.91 million, according to the Board of Elections.

In an August Siena poll, before the publicity surrounding Paladino’s primary win, Cuomo led Paladino by 56 percent to 14 percent, with 16 percent supporting Lazio as the Conservative Party candidate.

Cuomo, son and adviser to former Governor Mario Cuomo, has been attorney general since 2007, and is campaigning with promises to cut spending. New York, the third most populous state, faces an $8.2 billion budget gap next year, and the Legislature wasn’t able to agree on a plan to close this year’s $9.2 billion gap until four months after the fiscal year began April 1.

“Voters don’t think that Cuomo is too much of an Albany insider to effectively reform state government,” Greenberg said. “They also don’t believe that Paladino, coming from outside Albany, will be able to whip the Legislature into shape.”

Entitlement Attack

Paladino says he represents a change from the “status Cuomo” in New York government and has called his rival “Prince Andrew” for his lineage.

Democrats are leading in other statewide races, according to the poll.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli leads his Republican challenger Harry Wilson by 51 percent to 25 percent. In the race for attorney general, state senator Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat from Manhattan, leads Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan, a Republican, by 45 percent to 32 percent.

Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer leads Republican Jay Townsend by 63 percent to 30 percent. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat, leads former congressman Republican Joe DioGuardi by 57 percent to 31 percent.

The telephone survey of 801 people on Sept. 16-17 and 19-21 has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 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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