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Schumer's job rating dips amid anti-incumbent mood

ALBANY - Hit by the anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the country, Sen. Charles Schumer's job approval rating has dropped significantly in two polls out this week.

Marist College found 47 percent of registered voters said Schumer is doing either an excellent or good job, down from 51 percent on Jan. 13-14. The poll puts him at his lowest job approval level in nearly nine years.

Thirty-one percent of voters rated him as fair, and 17 percent said poor.

The last time New York's senior senator saw his approval rating in the Marist survey dip below 50 percent was in April 2001, when 49 percent graded him as excellent or good.

A Quinnipiac University Poll, due out Wednesday, will show Schumer well above the 50 percent mark, though down from December's 62 percent.

In both surveys, voters strongly support Schumer's re-election this year. Marist showed Schumer beating possible Republican challenger and CNBC anchorman Larry Kudlow, 67 percent to 25 percent. Kudlow has yet to declare his candidacy.

Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said, "Schumer is not immune from the anti-incumbent sentiment . . . but it would take a major effort to unseat him."

Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll agreed, saying, "His approval rating has fallen but he's still very strong. Chuck Schumer is in pretty good shape in terms of the November elections."

Schumer aide Joshua Vlasto downplayed the results. "These are tough times and polls go up and down, but the last time the senator's numbers were in this vicinity was in September 2004, two months before the voters overwhelmingly re-elected him."

Marist found the decline in the senator's job approval rating was steepest in New York City, where 51 percent of voters gave him high marks compared with 57 percent in mid-January.

The Marist poll of 838 voters, conducted Jan. 25-27, has an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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