Cuomo Stretches Lead Over Cynthia Nixon in 2018 Election Poll

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ALBANY — With exactly three months to go until the Democratic primary for governor, the two-term incumbent, Andrew M. Cuomo, has slightly stretched his sizable lead over his Democratic rival, the actress Cynthia Nixon, according to a new poll.

Mr. Cuomo, 60, holds a 35-point advantage among likely voters over Ms. Nixon — 61-26 percent — according to the Siena College poll released on Wednesday. His lead over the Republican candidate, Marcus J. Molinaro, is narrower: 19 points, 56 to 37 percent, though Mr. Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, is little known by most voters, the poll found.

Ms. Nixon had trimmed Mr. Cuomo’s lead to 31 points in an April poll by Siena, continuing a steady rise in voter surveys since declaring her candidacy in March. But the last month has seen Mr. Cuomo’s glossy coronation as the party’s preferred candidate at the state convention in late May, forcing Ms. Nixon — making her first run for public office — to begin petitioning to challenge him on the Sept. 13 ballot.

There were some off-putting findings for Mr. Cuomo, including a 44 percent unfavorability rating, a tie for the highest result found by Siena’s pollsters during the governor’s seven-plus years in office. Only 40 percent rank his performance as governor as “excellent” or “good” while 59 percent rate it as “fair” or “poor.”

Fifty-one percent of voters, however, approved of his performance as governor, an uptick of 2 points from the April poll. Ms. Nixon has an equal favorable and unfavorable rating: 31 percent.

Letitia James, the New York City public advocate, is leading all Democratic candidates in the race to succeed Barbara Underwood as state attorney general. She received 28 percent, 10 points better than the law professor, Zephyr Teachout, the second-place candidate. Leecia Eve, a former Clinton administration aide, received 4 percent of support.

Many voters have yet to form opinions about the candidates, and the poll was conducted before Representative Sean Patrick Maloney declared his candidacy last week. (Ms. Underwood, the first woman to become New York attorney general, has said she will not seek a full term in the attorney general’s job; she was appointed in May by the State Legislature after the resignation of Eric T. Schneiderman in the face of allegations of physical abuse of several romantic partners.)

Mr. Cuomo, who had a $30 million war chest in January and is an avid fund-raiser, defeats Ms. Nixon in all demographics and in all parts of the state, though his support is strongest in New York City’s suburbs and weakest in upstate New York, the poll found.

The survey took the opinions of 745 likely voters from June 4 to 7, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.