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Cuomo, Paladino rally before election

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The frontrunners for governor capped a whirlwind weekend of stump speeches and handshakes by campaigning on friendly turf Sunday.

Making a final pitch to voters before Tuesday’s election, Andrew Cuomo attended three rallies in New York City, a Democratic stronghold.

Carl Paladino, meanwhile, spent time in Westchester County and Long Island – the latter with a sizeable Republican and Tea Party base that backed him during the GOP primary.

Both men tried to downplay the latest Siena College poll released Sunday that places Cuomo, the state attorney general, ahead of Paladino by 25 points. It made sense for the candidates to keep rallying where they have staunch support, one political consultant said.

“With Andrew Cuomo so far ahead in the polls, that may lull his supporters and they won’t turn out. He’s got to get them to turn out,” Hank Sheinkopf said.

Pollster Craig Charney said Cuomo must build excitement for the other statewide races – particularly for attorney general and comptroller.

The Siena College poll shows both races at a dead heat after weeks of Democratic contenders holding an edge.

Dismissing the polls that show him way behind, Paladino said Sunday that his internal campaign polls show “we are going to win this race.”

On the campaign trail, Paladino has presented himself as an Albany outsider willing to cut state income taxes and dismantle the MTA. But Cuomo’s campaign has used Paladino’s off-the-cuff remarks to paint the Buffalo businessman as ill-suited for the governor’s office.

“I am not politically correct and I don’t want to be,” Paladino said Sunday.

Still, despite the anticipated groundswell of Republican voters casting ballots nationwide, Paladino’s “not likely to bring many people to the polls,” Charney said.

New Yorkers interviewd by amNewYork Sunday said that Cuomo seems most capable to improve the state’s fiscal crisis, and that Paladino’s campaign style turned them off.

“It usually shows a sign of weakness. I would rather have a candidate talk about himself rather than his opponents,” said Sawyer Preston, 41, of midtown, who plans to vote for Cuomo.

(With Ivan Peter/Newsday)

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