Rasmussen: New York Senate Race Shows Gillibrand With Slight Lead
Fellow Republicans paying attention to the NY Senate race should take not of this recent poll:
There’s an old political axiom: You can’t beat somebody with nobody. At least not in real life. But nobody comes pretty close in a new Rasmussen Reports survey of one of New York’s two U.S. Senate races this year.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) of likely voters favor incumbent Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, while 34% opt for an unnamed generic Republican candidate. Ten percent (10%) favor former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., now a Manhattan investment banker. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.
Ford is considering a Democratic Primary challenge of Gillibrand, who has been widely criticized in her own party ever since Governor David Paterson named her to the seat vacated by Hillary Clinton last year. Gillibrand leads Ford 48% to 23% among likely primary voters.
Ford also reportedly is thinking about skipping the primary process and running as an independent.
Among Republicans, both former Governor George Pataki and ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have been mentioned as possible Senate candidates. Rasmussen Reports tested both these hypothetical match-ups in November.
The problem for Republicans is Pataki has expressed no public interest in the race, and Giuliani pulled himself out of consideration within days after the November poll. Now Congressman Peter King, who initially ruled out a Senate run, says he is reconsidering. No major Republicans are in the race at this time.
Unlike in many other states, the national health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats is less of a factor in Republicans’ favor in New York. Forty-eight percent (48%) of Empire State voters favor the plan, while 49% oppose it. Those numbers include 26% who Strongly Favor it and 38% who Strongly Oppose, again a narrower gap than is found in most states and nationally.
The bigger problem for Gillibrand and other incumbents nationally may be views about the economy. Only six percent (6%) of New York voters describe the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Forty-eight percent (48%) rate it as poor.
Thirty-three percent (33%) say economic conditions in the country are getting better, but 37% think they’re getting worse. Twenty-three percent (23%) say conditions are staying about the same.
Just nine percent (9%) percent of New York voters have a very favorable opinion of Gillibrand, while nearly twice as many (17%) view her very unfavorably. Fourteen percent (14%) have no opinion of the incumbent.
Ford is seen very favorably by six percent (6%) and very unfavorably by 10%.. But 34% don’t know enough about Ford to venture even a soft opinion of him.
At this point in a campaign, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers.
Sixty-six percent (66%) in New York say another terrorist attack in the next year is likely, with 25% who believe it is very likely. New Yorkers are evenly divided over whether America is safer today than it was before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.: 40% say yes, 39% say no.
Sixty-seven percent (67%) think the attempt by a Nigerian Muslim to blow up a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day should be investigated by the military as a terrorist act. Twenty-one percent (21%) say the incident should be investigated by civilian authorities as a criminal act.
Forty percent (40%) rate the way the government has responded to the attempted airliner bombing as good or excellent, but 36% say the response has been poor.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of New York voters favor the use of full-body scanners at airport security checkpoints.
In the November 2008 election, Obama defeated Republican candidate John McCain in New York with 62% of the vote. Fifty-six percent (56%) of New York voters now approve of the job Obama is doing, including 34% who Strongly Approve. Forty-three percent disapprove of his job performance, with 33% who Strongly Disapprove. His job approval ratings are much higher in New York than they are nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.