Andrew Cuomo, who officially entered the race over the weekend, remains the overwhelming choice among New York voters to become the state's next governor while Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino's campaign has gained some momentum.
Democrat Cuomo, the state's attorney general, maintains huge, nearly identical, leads over all three potential Republican opponents, according to a Siena Research Institute poll released Monday.
In a three-way Republican primary for the nomination Rick Lazio has a 13-point lead over Paladino and a 15-point lead over Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who now has fallen behind Paladino.
SRI said Cuomo is viewed more favorably than any candidate, and he has forty-plus point leads over all three Republicans.
"Not only does he have huge leads in hypothetical horse races, when Siena asked voters - prior to anyone being identified as a gubernatorial candidate - 43 percent of voters, including 31 percent of Republicans, volunteered that they would like to see Andrew Cuomo elected the next governor. There was a three-way tie for second, at 5 percent, among (Gov. David) Paterson, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Paladino. No candidate other than Cuomo was named by more than 12 percent of any geographic or demographic group," pollster Steven Greenberg said.
Yet just who emerges to challenge Cuomo in November is an open question. Paladino, a Buffalo developer who is making his first run for office and is largely financing his own campaign, now has 16 percent support among GOP voters, up from 13 percent a month ago. Lazio has 29 percent support while Levy has was at 14 percent. Still, 41 percent don't know or had no opinion.
SRI also asked voters about the state's budget - now nearly two months late. When it comes to assigning blame, 25 percent blame Gov. David Paterson, 15 percent blame Senate Democrats, 14 percent blame legislative Republicans and 9 percent blame Assembly Democrats. Another 14 percent volunteered that the Governor and all legislators are to blame.