Poll: Gillibrand may face a tough race in 2010

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) may be headed for a tough reelection bid in 2010, according to a new, independent poll released Monday.

35 percent of voters told this month's Siena Poll of New Yorkers that they would prefer to vote for someone else in 2010, compared to 24 percent who said she deserved reelection. 41 percent were unsure.

Gillibrand has faced poor public opinion numbers since she was appointed by New York Gov. David Paterson (D) after a prolonged and controversial process to fill the Senate seat vacated by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Still, a plurality of New Yorkers who responded view the freshman senator positively. 29 percent have a favorable opinion of Gillibrand (down from 33 percent in May), compared to 20 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. 52 percent of respondents didn't know or had no opinion.

Democrats have managed, though, to clear the primary field for Gillibrand so she can focus on bucking up for her Republican challenger.

Two of those potential challengers, former Gov. George Patacki (R) and Rep. Peter King (R), would face slightly different prospects out of the gate against Gillibrand, the poll found.

42 percent of New Yorkers would prefer Patacki over Gillibrand, in a test of a hypothetical matchup, with 18 percent undecided.

Gillibrand leads King 46-24, by contrast, with 30 percent undecided.

The Siena Poll, conducted August 17-20, has a 3.9 percent margin of error.

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