Cuomo Down as Independents Increasingly Support GOP: Poll

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has to make up some lost ground.

    Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's quest for the governorship of New York state is going good, but not great.

    At least that's the result of a new Siena poll.

    Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo "continues to dominate the political scene in New York," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a new  Siena Research Institute poll released today.  However, "his still-commanding lead has fallen to its lowest level ever."

    Cuomo's favorability rating is 59 percent, down from 67 percent in May.  This is the first time he has fallen below 60 percent in a year and a half.

    This shift may be partly due to independent voters' increasingly expressing support for republican candidates, according to the poll.  When matched against either of the two leading Republican candidates, Rick Lazio and Carl Paladino, Cuomo's independent support fell by 20 points since the last Siena Poll, but he still  has the majority of independent voters' support.

    But it's too early to tell whether this shift is a one-time occurrence or the sign of a trend, Greenberg told NBCNewYork.

    "I think the reason we saw the movement this month among independent voters was because of all the tension over the last few weeks in Albany," said Greenberg. "Independent voters are looking at this and saying, 'Democrats are largely in control; if there's problems, it's because of them.'"

    Independent voters comprise 20 percent of registered New York voters, said Greenberg.  "Because they're only a fifth of the voters it did not move the race significantly," he added.

    Both of New York's incumbent Democratic U.S.senators Kristin Gillibrand and Charles Schumer saw support decreases: Gillibrand's dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent last month, and Schumer's is 54, down from 64.

    In the state senate elections, however, the poll finds that "only 35 percent of voters want to re-elect their incumbent state senator," said Greenberg in the report.

    Further, when asked which party voters would prefer in control of the state senate, 34 percent  wanted a clear Democratic majority, 26 percent a clear Republican majority, and 32 percent  wanted it to remain closely divided.

    "A lot depends on outside events," said Greenberg, speculating on the upcoming elections.  "I think it's an open question... If anything, the lesson from the last four years is that politics in New York can change very quickly."

    This poll was conducted via telephone interviews with 808 registered New York voters from June 7 to 9.  The margin of error is approximately 3.4 percentage points, according to the Siena institute.