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Cuomo leads Paladino 2-1 in new poll

At the Glen Cove Senior Center, New York

At the Glen Cove Senior Center, New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announces the expansion of an industry-wide investigation into predatory health care lending, checking into situations in which consumers, especially seniors and vulnerable patients, are misled about financing, causing them to be pushed into debt. (Aug. 9 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

ALBANY - Democrat Andrew Cuomo continues to lead Republican Carl Paladino by more than 2-1 in the race for governor in a new poll released Thursday.

The Siena Research Institute found Cuomo beats Paladino 57 percent to 24 percent among registered voters. Conservative Party nominee Rick Lazio is backed by 8 percent, while 10 percent are undecided.

Paladino, a millionaire businessman from Buffalo, has gained 10 percentage points since last month's poll but still trails Cuomo by 33 points. This is markedly different from the 6-point gap between the candidates seen in Quinnipiac University's poll, which surveyed likely voters. That poll was released Wednesday.

"After his lopsided victory in [last Tuesday's] Republican primary, Paladino is now better known by New York voters -- but not necessarily better liked, other than by Republican and conservative voters," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg, a former top aide to two Democratic Assembly speakers.

He added the poll respondents were evenly divided over whether Paladino, know for his blustery comments, is a "loose cannon" with a temperament ill-suited for the executive mansion. Voters also were split over whether his business experience is an advantage.

Cuomo, the state attorney general, was seen as more effective than either Paladino or Lazio in addressing key issues such as job creation, education, property tax relief and overhauling governmental ethics. On reining in property taxes, 38 percent said Cuomo would be the most effective; 29 percent said Paladino; 12 percent Lazio, and 21 percent were undecided.

Likely voters tend to skew Conservative and Republican and are more motivated and angry than Democrats, according to Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll.

"The shift from registered voters to likely voters favors Republicans, as more conservative voters are more energized to vote now," Carroll said.

In the contest for attorney general, state Sen. Eric Schneiderman (D-Manhattan) beats Republican Dan Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney, 45 percent to 32 percent, though both are unknown by large swathes of voters. The same is true in the race for state comptroller, where incumbent Thomas DiNapoli, a Democrat from Great Neck, leads Republican Harry Wilson, 51 percent to 25 percent, with another 25 percent undecided.

After bruising primaries, the Republicans seeking to unseat incumbent U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, face an uphill fight.

Schumer is ahead of upstate Cornwall-on-Hudson political consultant Jay Townsend, 63 percent to 30 percent. Gillibrand leads former Rep. Joseph DioGuardi of Westchester, 57 percent to 31 percent.

The Siena poll of 801 voters, conducted Sept. 16 and 17 and Sept. 19 and 21, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 points.

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