Loudonville, NY – A year before the first votes are cast in the 2008 presidential primaries, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani have commanding leads in their respective primaries in New York, according to a new Siena (College) Research Institute poll of registered voters released today. Governor Eliot Spitzer is viewed favorably by three-quarters of voters, while Joe Bruno and Shelly Silver are viewed unfavorably by roughly twice as many voters as view them favorably. More than six in ten voters think that both houses of the State Legislature are doing a fair or poor job, and voters would prefer to see the Legislature remain divided between the two parties.“With 58 percent of New York Democrats supporting her, Hillary easily laps the field, with only Sen. Barack Obama making it in to double digits at 11 percent,” said Steven Greenberg, Siena New York Poll spokesman. “Sen. John Edwards has the support of nine percent and no other Democrat even gets five percent. Home field advantage is even more important in politics than it is in sports.
“On the Republican side, Rudy has opened a substantial 47-20 percent lead over Sen. John McCain. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has the support of nine percent, while former Governor George Pataki ties for fourth place with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at five percent,” Greenberg said. “It may not be his strongest message in Iowa and New Hampshire, but after 12 years as Governor, only one in 20 New York Republicans think that Pataki should be President.”
Clinton scores at least 50 percent with every demographic group, and leads Obama 78-13 percent with African American Democrats.
Spitzer is rated favorably by 75 percent of voters and unfavorably by 10 percent. Nearly half (49 percent) of voters say he’s doing an excellent or good job as governor, while 19 percent say he’s doing a fair or poor job.
“After nearly one month in office, voters’ honeymoon with the new Democratic governor remains strong,” Greenberg said. “Even Republicans give him a better than three-to-one favorable rating and a better than two-to-one job performance rating. Not surprisingly, one-third of voters haven’t seen enough to have an opinion on how Sptizer is doing on the job, but they overwhelmingly have a favorable view of him.”
Bruno is viewed favorably by 17 percent of voters and unfavorably by 36 percent; 47 percent don’t know enough to have an opinion. Silver is 20 percent favorable, 37 percent unfavorable, 43 percent don’t know enough. Only 22 percent of voters think the Assembly is doing an excellent or good job, while 64 percent think it’s doing a fair or poor job. The Senate doesn’t fare much better with a job performance rating of 27 percent excellent or good, 62 percent fair or poor.
“Based on the way they are re-elected, voters may like their own legislators but they overwhelmingly believe that both houses of the Legislature are not performing well,” Greenberg said. “Among those who know them, voters have a very negative view of both Bruno and Silver.
“By a strong margin, voters prefer the status quo of a divided Legislature. While one-third of voters believe that it would be better to have one party control both the Senate and the Assembly, 56 percent think it’s better to have each house controlled by a different political party. While Democrats are evenly split on this question, two-thirds of Republicans and independents support a split Legislature.”
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has a 48-29 percent favorable rating, with 23 percent not knowing enough to rate him. Lt. Governor David Paterson is unknown to three-quarters of voters and has a 17-8 percent favorable rating. A plurality (45 percent) of voters believe the state is headed on the right track, while 26 percent believe the state is going in the wrong direction.
This SRI survey was conducted January 24-25, 2007 by telephone calls to 625 registered New York State voters.
It has a margin of error of + 3.9 percentage points. For more information or comments, please call Steven Greenberg at 518-469-9858. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: http://www.siena.edu/sri/SienaNewYorkPoll.asp http://www.siena.edu/SRI/results/2007/07_Jan_NYPoll.htm