ALBANY — With a little more than a month to go before the election, Gov. Cuomo has a large lead over Republican challenger Marc Molinaro, a new Siena College poll released Monday shows.
Cuomo leads Molinaro, the Duchess County executive, by a 50% to 28% margin among likely voters, with four minor party candidates—including actress Cynthia Nixon, who lost to the governor in the Democratic primary— drawing 14% of the vote.
Nixon, who has the support of 10% of voters, could be out of the race later this week as the progressive Working Families Party meets to decide whether to keep her on the ballot or replace her with Cuomo or another lesser-known candidate.
A hefty 56% of those surveyed did not know who Molinaro is, which is down from 71% in June.
In a two-way race, Cuomo leads Molinaro 56% to 38%, the poll found.
“Five weeks is a long time in the world of campaigns,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “However, Molinaro remains largely unknown to more than half of voters, trails Cuomo badly in the money game, and faces an electorate with more than twice as many Democrats as Republicans in a blue state that hasn’t gone red in a statewide election since 2002.”
In the race for state attorney general, city Public Advocate Letitia James, a Democrat, leads Republican opponent Keith Wofford, a corporate lawyer, by a 50% to 36% margin, the tightest of the statewide races.
Both James and Wofford are vying to become the first black attorney general. James would also be the first woman elected to the position as current AG Barbara Underwood was appointed by the state Legislature after two-term incumbent Eric Schneiderman abruptly resigned in May following a story that he physically assaulted four women he had been dating.
Democratic State Controller Thomas DiNapoli leads Republican challenger Jonathan Trichter by a hefty 58% to 26% margin despite more than 60% of New Yorkers not knowing DiNapoli, who has served in the job for 11 years. Nearly 90% of New Yorkers don’t know Trichter.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat seeking reelection to a second full six-year term, scores the highest percentage of support of the statewide officials, according to the poll.
Gillibrand, who like Cuomo has been mentioned as a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, leads little-known Republican challenger Chele Chiavacci Farley by a 60% to 29% margin.
Despite his large lead over Molinaro, there are some red flags for Cuomo, who is seeking a third term.
Half of likely voters have a favorable view of the governor while 46% view him unfavorably. That’s his highest unfavorable rating since he took office in 2011, according to Greenberg.
Just 41% believe Cuomo is doing an excellent or good job, while 58% say he’s doing a fair or poor job.
But none of that seems to matter yet in the matchup against Molinaro, according to the poll.
Cuomo leads by 61 points in New York City and 24 points in the suburbs, where Molinaro is a county executive.
The race is much closer upstate. Cuomo has a narrow 38% to 36% lead with 18% choosing one of the other candidates.
In the six-way race, Cuomo has 77% of the vote among Democrats while Molinaro has 59% of Republican support. It’s closer among independents, with Cuomo leading Molinaro 39% to 29%.
The governor, who has made abortion and other women’s issues a top campaign issue, leads 12 points with men but 31 points among women.
He leads 45% to 32% among white voters but has the backing of more than three-quarters of black and Latino voters.
Also running for governor are Howie Hawkins on the Green Party line, Larry Sharpe on the Libertarian line, and former Syracuse mayor Stephanie Miner on the newly created Serve America Movement party line.