Stephen Reader covers politics for It's a Free Country, WNYC's interactive politics site. He joined the station in 2010 and has also worked for Studio 360, WNYC's Peabody Award-winning show about art, culture, and creativity.
Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC. On this morning's Brian Lehrer Show, Maurice Carroll, Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director, Dr. Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, and Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion broke down the most recent polling data for Carl Paladino and Andrew Cuomo.
In early October, it was hard to tell what was going on in the New York gubernatorial race. Shortly after Carl Paladino surprised everyone by winning the Republican nomination, three different polls came out with three very different sets of numbers gauging support for Paladino and his opponent, Andrew Cuomo.
Now, the picture has developed—and it’s not pretty for Carl.
Carroll, Levy and Miringoff finally have numbers that agree with each other. Based on recent polls, it is a “blowout” for Andrew Cuomo, carrying around 60 percent of the vote to Paladino’s 30-something.
What accounts for the sudden consensus (and pummeling)? Lee Miringoff put it simply:
"You might say [Carl Paladino] wanted to run for Governor in the worst possible way, and he has."
Polling data measuring negative opinions of Paladino, as well as how fit to govern he is, were never great to begin with. But Paladino has only made it worse since then, Miringoff said:
"One in four of his backers don’t like him or don’t know enough about him, and 43 percent of conservatives and 47 percent of Republicans are negative about Carl Paladino. This is not a candidacy that has any legs."
When asked about whether Monday night’s debate gave a bump to any of the third party candidates, the response from the panel was a collective chuckle. Maurice Carroll said that a laugh was the only thing these candidates could offer:
"They weren’t real. Jimmy McMillan, he’ll get some votes from people who think, “Gee, that’s funny.” But as far as anything real goes, no, none of them showed anything at all, and you wouldn’t expect them to."
Between the bizarre minor party candidates and the Tea Party-backed Paladino, the panel agreed that insurgent political movements remain mostly out of luck in the state. Lee Miringoff summed it up:
"Clearly there is a political tidal wave in New York, as there is elsewhere in the nation. Here, the water is still very blue for the Democrats."