New York GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino is in a surprisingly close race with Democrat Andrew Cuomo, according to a poll released Wednesday.

A Quinnipiac University survey of likely voters placed the Tea Party-backed Paladino only six points behind Cuomo, who leads 49 percent to 43.

Paladino, a Buffalo-area real estate developer, is aided by a four-to-one margin of support among voters who consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. Among the 18 percent of likely voters who identify with the conservative groups, Paladino enjoys 77-18 percent support.

Cuomo is the state's attorney general, and his father was a governor of the Democratic-leaning Empire State, making him a favorite to win the race. Many observers thought Paladino's victory over former Rep. Rick Lazio in the GOP primary made a Cuomo general-election victory even more likely.

Paladino has been chastised by some in his own party for saying that he wants to "take a baseball bat to Albany" and for getting himself into hot water over e-mails he forwarded containing explicit material.

The Quinnipiac survey shows both Paladino and Cuomo with over 80 percent support among their parties, and Paladino surprisingly leads among independents 49 percent to 43.

The Qunnipiac poll of 751 likely New York state voters from Sept. 16-20 has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

-- This post was corrected at 2:07 p.m.