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Cuomo enjoys big lead though voters unhappy with his job performance

ALBANY – Just hours before his only debate in his re-election bid, Gov. Andrew Cuomo holds a sizable lead over his Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, a new poll finds.

Still New Yorkers are not happy with the job the governor is doing in office and his favorability rating is the lowest in nine years, the poll concludes.

The Siena College poll of likely voters released this morning shows Cuomo leading Astorino by 54 percent to 33 percent, with Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins pulling nine percent.

The race is tighter upstate, where Cuomo has 47 percent to Astorino’s 37 percent, but Cuomo’s strength in New York City helps push up his overall numbers.

Astorino, the Westchester County Executive, has a slight lead in the New York City suburbs.

Cuomo’s 21-point lead is down from 29 percent a month ago, Siena says.

Cuomo is still getting his most support from women: 65 percent of female respondents said they support Cuomo.

Cuomo and Astorino are running about even among male voters.

While Cuomo leads Astorino, New Yorkers’s views about the governor suggest a discontented population. Forty-three percent give Cuomo a negative favorability rating, the lowest since Siena began asking voters the question about Cuomo nine years ago. His 54 percent positive favorability rating is down from the 77 percent level he had when he came into office in January 2011.

Worse are the governor’s job approval ratings: 57 percent give his job performance a negative rating.

Although Cuomo enjoys a comfortable lead, the Green Party candidate could have an impact on the final outcome.

“The difference is Howie Hawkins’ nine percent support,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a prepared statement.

“If Hawkins does that well on Election Day – something third party candidates often don’t do – then it will almost certainly make this year’s race closer than four years ago and keep Cuomo well below his total vote from 2010,” Greenberg added.

This Siena College Poll was conducted between Oct. 16 and 20, and consisted of telephone calls to 748 likely registered voters in the state. The poll has an overall margin of error of + 3.6 percentage points.

According to the Siena College poll, the only Democrat to expand his lead from September’s poll results is Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who leads Republican challenger John Cahill 55-35 percent, which is up from 50-34 percent last month. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli maintains the largest lead over his challenger, Robert Antonacci, 58-31 percent compared to 56-27 percent last month.