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After big primary win, Cuomo leads GOP's Molinaro by 50-28 percent

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, and Dutchess County

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, left, and Dutchess County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Marc Molinaro will debate on WCBS at 10 a.m. Tuesday.  Credit: Charles Eckert

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had a 50-28 percent lead over Republican nominee Marc Molinaro in a poll released Monday.

The Siena College Research Institute poll of likely voters in November covered a field of six candidates and found just 8 percent were undecided a month before the general election.

Siena pollster Steven Greenberg called Cuomo’s lead strong, coming after his 65-35 percent victory in the Democratic primary Sept. 13 over activist and actress Cynthia Nixon.

“Cuomo is doing a better job of holding his base, leading Molinaro 77-6 percent, while Molinaro only leads among Republicans 59-21 percent,” Greenberg said.

In the New York City suburbs, including Long Island, Cuomo led by 54-30 percent.

The poll found that 56 percent of voters said they didn’t know enough about Molinaro to have a favorable or unfavorable view of him, The most intense campaigning begins this month.

Respondents favored Cuomo on education, on fixing New York’s infrastructure and on creating jobs. But by a 41-36 percent margin, they thought Molinaro would do a better job of fighting corruption.

“Cleaning up Albany” had been Cuomo’s top priority when he ran for the office in 2010. But this year, two federal corruption cases resulted in convictions of two of Cuomo’s longtime associates, including his top confidant, Joseph Percoco.

Molinaro narrows his deficit among independents, who favor Cuomo by 39-29 percent.

Nixon, who still can run on the Working Families Party line in November, was favored by 10 percent of those polled. Libertarian Larry Sharpe had 2 percent, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins and Serve America Movement candidate Stephanie Miner each had 1 percent.

Molinaro’s campaign declined to comment on the poll.

But the campaign accused Siena of altering its schedule to benefit Cuomo by failing to do a general election poll in August, as it has in the past. That month, he faced headlines about the corruption trials. Cuomo hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing.

Molinaro’s campaign said the lack of an August general-election poll allowed Cuomo to “spend upward of $25 million of his dirty pay-to-play money in the midst of the worst months of his stained governorship ahead of a general election poll.”

But Greenberg said, “Any time a candidate or a campaign doesn’t like a poll, they blame the pollster, whether they are Republican or Democratic.”

He said the Siena Institute was busy in August doing Democratic primary polls and that there is “no logic” in Molinaro’s complaint.

The poll questioned 701 likely voters from Sept. 20 to Saturday, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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