ALBANY – A new poll has Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo with a strong lead over activist Cynthia Nixon, his Democratic gubernatorial rival in the September Democratic primary.
Cuomo has expanded his lead from an earlier May poll and now is ahead of Nixon by 59-23 percent, according to a poll out this morning by Quinnipiac University.
The poll was taken of registered voters, not likely voters. Those voters more likely to vote in this year’s contests will be polled in later polls, according to Quinnipiac polling analyst Mary Snow; she could not immediately say when that might happen for a primary that will beheld in less than two months.
The poll also looked at a six-way general election race for governor. In that scenario, Cuomo leads with 43 percent, followed by Republican Marc Molinaro at 23 percent. Nixon, running on the Working Families Party line she has already secured, would get 13 percent of the vote if the election was held today. Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe, Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and independent Stephanie Miner shared in some portion of 5 percent of the vote.
The remaining 16 percent said they either won’t vote, want someone else or just don’t know yet to form a preference.
In a contest between just Cuomo and Molinaro, who is the Dutchess County Executive, Cuomo leads his Republican rival 57-31 percent. Cuomo’s support is less strong with male and white voters and stronger with female and nonwhite voters, the poll found, and his support upstate is weaker among Democrats there than in New York City and the downstate suburbs.
Snow said an important takeaway from the poll is that most voters prefer a gubernatorial candidate with political experience over a newcomer.
The polling analyst said a chief problem for Cuomo’s rivals is that voters are unsure who they are. In Molinaro’s case, 66 percent of respondents said they did not know enough about him to form an opinion; for Nixon, that number was 40 percent.
Forty-nine percent of respondents had a favorable view of Cuomo; 38 percent had a sour view of him. Forty-nine percent approve of Cuomo’s job performance of governor and 43 percent say he is doing a bad job.
In the Democratic primary for state attorney general, voters gave “undecided” the top choice at 42 percent. New York City Public Advocate scored 26 percent, U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney got 15 percent; law professor Zephyr Teachout received 12 percent; and Leecia Eve, a Buffalo native, got 3 percent.
In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand has a 57-30 percent lead over Republican Chele Farley.
Quinnipiac did not poll in the comptroller’s race or the primary for lieutenant governor between Kathy Hochul, the incumbent, and Jumaane Williams, a New York City councilman from Brooklyn.
The poll was taken last Thursday evening until Sunday. It surveyed 934 voters and included landline and cell phones and had Spanish-speaking pollsters available. It reported a margin of error of 4.1 percent, rising to 6.2 percent with the responses by the 415 Democrats were considered on their own.