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ALBANY -- As the state Democratic convention opens with discord over the direction of the party pushed by its more liberal wing, a poll on Wednesday found Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would lose a chunk of votes if a more liberal candidate challenged him in the race.
The Quinnipiac University poll, however, found that if the election was held now Cuomo would still win over Republican nominee Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.
The poll found Cuomo would win by a 57-28 margin over Astorino, who remains little-known statewide. But that lead drops to 37-24 if a more liberal candidate runs for the Working Families Party, a more liberal party closely associated with the Democratic Party.
Whether liberal voters were simply sending a message to Cuomo through a poll or would carry through in the fall elections isnt known.
You never know, said Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll. Would this happen? Its hypothetical ... but hes not going to lose. The Working Families Party, on the other hand, could lose its ballot line, so they have a vested interest in either getting Governor Cuomo to take its line or having someone run against him.
He referred to the risk of the Working Families Party of running a candidate against Cuomo. If the Working Families Party candidate doesnt gain at least 50,000 votes in the November elections, the party would lose its automatic line on state ballots and would face a difficult and expensive petition process to get on future ballots.
On Wednesday, the state Democratic Convention opened in the Huntington Hilton in Melville with a heated committee meeting. Democrat leaders voted down two petitions backed by the liberal wing of the party. One urged Cuomo to reject the endorsement of the Independence Party and the other called on a handful of breakaway Senate Democrats who have formed a governing coalition to return to the mainstream Democratic conference. The IDC is part of a power-sharing coalition with Republicans that runs the Senate majority.