New York Gov. Kathy Hochul holds an early advantage over potential Democratic primary challengers, according to a newly released Siena College poll.
In a preview of the June primary, the incumbent governor leads her closest potential opponents by between 14 and 19 points in multiple scenarios, pollsters found after questioning New York State voters.
In the first five-way scenario, Hochul took an early advantage over the man she replaced, Gov. Andrew Cuomo with 31 percent of the vote versus 17 percent.
Other candidates include Attorney General Letitia James at 14 percent, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 7 percent, and Mayor Bill de Blasio at 6 percent.
According to the poll, if the embattled Cuomo is removed from the equation, the numbers shift to 39 percent for Hochul, followed by James (20 percent), de Blasio (10 percent), and Williams (8 percent).
In a straight head-to-head matchup, Hochul leads James by a 47 to 31 margin.
Despite earning the nod against her potential primary opponents, Hochul has seen her favorability dip slightly, according to the poll, from 42 percent in favor against 26 not in favor, down from 42 percent in favor and 17 percent not in favor in a similar study last month.
Though the early numbers look good, pollsters caution that with this much time before the Democratic primary, things remain relatively unpredictable.
“Predicting June’s Democratic gubernatorial ballot 36 weeks away from primary day, four months before a state party convention with only Hochul declared is not for the faint-hearted,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.
“That said, Siena presented Democrats with three potential primary matchups and in each case, Hochul leads by double digits.
“But let’s repeat, we are 36 weeks away with an unknown field, and most potential candidates, being, like Hochul, largely unknown to a wide swath of voters.”
Greenberg noted that while Hochul had the overwhelming lead in the three scenarios, the largest question looming remains whether or not Cuomo - who resigned following James’ investigation and report into sexual harassment claims - will enter the race.
“Then there’s the elephant - or perhaps the donkey - in the room. Will Cuomo run again, trying for electoral redemption,” Greenberg questioned. “While one out of six Democrats say they would support Cuomo over (the field), 57 percent of Democrats say that Cuomo should have resigned, compared to 35 percent who said he should have stayed.”
The complete Siena College poll can be found here.
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