Why Carl Paladino is closing on Andrew Cuomo in NY governor's race

Carl Paladino, a tea party backed Republican candidate, is catching up to front-runner Andrew Cuomo in the race for governor of New York, according to a new poll. Cuomo's lead over Paladino is now down to six percentage points.

Don Heupel/AP
Carl Paladino, New York State Republican gubernatorial candidate has Democrat Andrew Cuomo in his sights.

A poll released Wednesday finds long-shot tea party Republican Carl Paladino is closing in on front-running Democrat Andrew Cuomo in the race for New York governor.

The Quinnipiac University polls showed Cuomo with a 49 percent to 43 percent lead among likely New York voters. Seven percent were undecided.

"The question was whether Carl Paladino would get a bounce from his big Republican primary victory. The answer is yes," said Quinnipiac polling Director Maurice Carroll. "He's within shouting distance and – you can count on it – he will be shouting."


The poll found the straight-talking Buffalo developer, the upset winner in last week's GOP primary, had 34 percent of the support of women voters to Cuomo's 54 percent. But 49 percent of men supported Paladino, compared with 46 percent for Cuomo, the one-term attorney general.

Paladino has sought to ride a wave of voter anger at Albany's high taxes, high spending and string of corruption cases in state government, all of which is controlled by Democrats.

"Attorney General Andrew Cuomo might be a victim of his own excess," Carroll said. "Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the 'throw the bums out' attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year."

Quinnipiac finds that the largest share of those polled - 41 percent - said the most important quality in a candidate is the ability to bring change. Just two in 10 felt a candidate needs to share their values and about the same felt honesty was a top quality.

Paladino is a tea party-supported Republican who shocked the GOP a week ago in winning the primary over the party's designee, former U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio.

Carroll said Paladino's support is boosted by conservative voters and those who are motivated to vote in November.

In previous polls of registered voters, rather than Wednesday's poll of likely voters, Cuomo has held a better than 2-to-1 edge. Cuomo also has more than $20 million in his campaign account as of the latest filings last summer, although Paladino – a millionaire – is now starting to raise cash in addition to the more than $10 million of his own money he has pledged to spend.

The poll questioned 751 likely voters from last Thursday 16 to Monday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.


[Editor's note: The original story gave the wrong figures for support among men and women.]

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.