In its first poll of likely general election voters, the Quinnipiac Poll found Republican nominee Carl Paladino narrowly trails Attorney General Andrew Cuomo 43-49 percent.
Just over a third of those polled had a favorable view of Paladino, another third do not, and another third didn't know enough about him to say. Men slightly favored Paladino over Cuomo, while Cuomo has a twenty-point edge over Paladino among likely women voters.
There's always a gender gap but this one is markedly bigger than usual. Politico's Ben Smith, who was a guest on today's Brian Lehrer Show, thinks it signifies that women are disillusioned about New York politics, while men are angry--and anger motivates people to vote. "You can kind of blame the enthusiasm gap on the gender gap," he said.
Smith said Paladino's popularity doesn't stem from his policy plans--which are thin. A number of core Republican establishment figures laughed out loud on Fred Dicker's radio show this morning when they heard Paladino planned to have them on a panel for state fiscal issues. "It points to the degree to which Paladino is running on raw emotion," Smith said.
The telephone poll of 751 likely New York voters was taken last Thursday to Monday, just as Paladino was launching his general election campaign after his surprising Republican primary victory. The poll's margin of error is 3.6 percentage points.
What do you think? Does Carl Paladino represent you? Who is the more formidable opponent in the governor's race?