A new poll out Thursday finds Democrat Andrew Cuomo 26 points ahead of his Republican gubernatorial challenger Carl Paladino, markedly different results from a poll released on Wednesday's that showed the race in a statistical dead heat.
Thursday's poll by Siena College found that Cuomo maintains his wide lead over Paladino at 57 percent to 24 percent. Siena's Steve Greenberg says that's virtually unchanged since August.
"Andrew Cuomo continues to have a better than two-to-one lead over Paladino," Greenberg says.
The numbers differ significantly from a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday that showed the race had narrowed to six percentage points.
Greenberg says the difference is that Siena surveyed registered voters, Quinnipiac asked likely voters. He says it may be too early to target likely voters, because most New Yorkers aren't focused on an election that is still six weeks away.
The Siena survey also included Conservative Party candidate Rick Lazio who, Greenberg says took some votes away from Paladino. Lazio is under pressure from some Republican leaders to quit the race, and give the Conservative line over to Paladino. The former congressman has not yet said what he'll do.
Paladino's campaign, which issued a statement crowing over the results of the Wednesday poll, was less enchanted with Thursday's numbers. The Republican candidate's campaign says the poll has "questionable results" and that their own internal polling indicates that Paladino may be somewhere in between the two polls, around 10 points behind Cuomo.
Cuomo and his campaign did not comment, but other Democratic elected officials, who denied that they were acting as surrogates for Cuomo, held a news conference to condemn the GOP candidate. State Sen. Neil Breslin, of Albany who was at the conference said Paladino is "a bigot and a racist."
Cuomo's campaign released an ad labeling Paladino a "welfare king," for taking $1.4 million in economic development tax breaks and creating just one job.
The tone of the already nasty race deteriorated further, with each campaign calling the other candidate a liar. Paladino released a mock up of Cuomo as Pinocchio, after the Attorney General misspoke at a news event where he was endorsed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Cuomo said that he had voted for Bloomberg, but later admitted he had not.
Paladino, in a statement, says "Andrew's not capable of telling the truth."
State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs responded, saying that Paladino's "entire life is a lie."