ALBANY — The Democratic primary for governor and lieutenant governor not only won’t include a debate, but it apparently won’t draw a public poll, either.
Neither the Siena College Research Institute nor The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion have done or plan a head-to-head primary poll before the Sept. 9 primary. Each polling organization is in the midst of what are expected to be more pressing state and congressional races.
Democratic challenger for governor Zephyr Teachout and her running mate, Tim Wu, say they see a groundswell of support. They face Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and his running mate, former Rep. Kathy Hochul.
Cuomo and Hochul have refused to address their lesser-known opponents in a debate, which would raise the name recognition of Teachout and Wu. Good-government advocates including Dick Dadey of Citizens Union have criticized Cuomo for refusing to debate.
Teachout had little name recognition in August polls, which didn’t test her head-to-head against Cuomo.
“Let’s assume she’s better known now,” said Lee Miringoff of the Marist College poll. “The concern, I think, by the Cuomo team is that with a low turnout, a somewhat unpredictable political event can be even more so, especially if she taps into a protest vote against Cuomo.”
Miringoff said Cuomo’s failed effort in court to knock Teachout off the ballot and his refusal to debate her will probably fuel some protest vote that would serve the liberal Teachout.
“Unusual outcomes can occur,” Miringoff said. “It doesn’t mean he’s in jeopardy, but she can get numbers.”
Few outside the Teachout-Wu campaign are predicting victory. But winning a significant part of the vote could show a loss of liberal support for Cuomo in November or in 2016, should he consider a run for the Democratic nomination for president.