New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (D) is pulling away from his Republican challenger, Buffalo-area businessman Carl Paladino, in the race to become the state's next governor, according to a new poll.
A New York Times survey released Sunday showed Cuomo leading Paladino 59-24 percent among likely voters, one of the largest leads the Democrat has held over the Republican during the widely watched general-election campaign.
But since then, Paladino's campaign has been marked by missteps made by the fiery candidate, which have drawn national attention to the race.
He got into tussle with a reporter at a campaign event, telling him, "I'll take you out." Paladino, who received the backing of Tea Party activists, also found himself in hot water over a controversial remark he made about homosexuals during a speech to Orthodox Jewish rabbis, for which he later apologized. That comment came as he was facing questions about a child he fathered out of wedlock.
Fifty-nine percent of registered voters said Paladino does not have the right personality or temperament to be governor, compared to 73 percent who say Cuomo does.
The Times poll showed that New Yorkers are deeply dissatisfied with the condition of their state's government and economy, but have not taken to Paladino's message of government reform.
Forty-one percent of the larger sample of registered voters have a favorable view of Cuomo, and 63 percent approve of his job performance as attorney general, despite their general attitude against the state government. Those numbers contrast with the 43 percent who view Paladino unfavorably.
Seventy-nine percent of New Yorkers polled say the state's economy is fairly or very bad, but 27 percent of registered voters said that the the economy would likely get better under Cuomo, compared to 29 percent who said it would get worse under Paladino.
Still, more voters believe that the economy will remain the same under both potential governors (53 percent for Cuomo, 41 percent for Paladino).
The registered voters surveyed by the Times who also voted for president in 2008 largely supported then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) over Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), 58 percent to 26.
The Times polled 1,143 New Yorkers, including 943 registered voters between Oct. 10-15. The margin of error is three percentage points for both groups.