ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo’s large lead over Cynthia Nixon has begun to slip, a new Siena College poll found.
A month after Nixon entered the Democratic gubernatorial race, Cuomo now leads the “Sex and the City” actress among registered Democrats by a 58% to 27% margin, according to the poll.
That’s down from 66% to 19% last month before Nixon declared her candidacy.
Cuomo remains strong in Democrat-rich New York City, where he’s ahead of Nixon by a 63% to 21% margin.
He’s ahead in the suburbs by 30 points — but just 11 points upstate.
The poll found few still know much about Nixon. Among Democrats, one-third view her favorably, 23% unfavorably and 44% had no opinion.
“Early on, Cuomo seems to be in a strong position to again be the Democratic Party’s standard bearer. However, Nixon has narrowed the deficit more than a little in the last month and the campaigns are just gearing up,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.
He noted that in 2014, Cuomo beat little-known primary challenger Zephyr Teachout by 29 points while Nixon trails by 31 points before the campaigns have really heated up.
“The race has just started and there’s still five months to go,” Greenberg said. “In a variation of Bette Davis’ famous line: Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”
The poll shows some red flags for the governor.
His overall favorability rating matched his lowest rating during his eight years as governor. Just 49% now view Cuomo favorably and 44% unfavorably.
But heading into the primary, Cuomo remains popular among Democrats, with 62% viewing him favorably and 32% unfavorably.
And while Cuomo continues to do well in New York City, his overall favorability numbers are under water in the suburbs and upstate.
Just 41% of New Yorkers, including 53% of Democrats, say he is doing an excellent or good job while 57% statewide say his performance is fair or poor.
Just more than half of Democrats consider Cuomo a moderate while 30% say he’s a liberal.
Nixon has secured the backing in recent days of a number of progressive groups, like the Working Families Party, who argue Cuomo isn’t liberal enough.
Forty-seven percent of New Yorkers say they’d prefer a new governor while 44% say they are prepared to reelect Cuomo.
But when Siena polled potential head-to-head matchups in the primary and general elections, Cuomo still holds large leads.
He leads GOP front-runner Marcus Molinaro by a 57% to 31% margin and Senate Deputy Republican Majority Leader John DeFrancisco by a similar margin.
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