Former Gov. George Pataki (R) is well-positioned to run for Senate should he choose to do so, according to a new poll.

Patacki, the former two-term governor of the Empire State, would beat incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) by 13 points if the election were held today, and maintains a larger, 22-point lead over former Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.), who's mulling a run for the New York Senate seat.

51 percent of New Yorkers would vote for Pataki in a matchup against Gillibrand, while 38 percent said they favor the first-term, appointed senator, according to a new Siena Poll of the state. 11 percent didn't know who they would support.


The poll is just the latest signal that Gillibrand, after almost a year in office, could be vulnerable in usually-Democratic New York going into this fall's midterms.

Ford, a 2006 Senate candidate in Tennessee who's been leaning toward a primary challenge to Gillibrand in New York, fares worse against Pataki.

54 percent of New Yorkers would vote for their former governor in a matchup against Ford, while 32 percent said they would support the former congressman if the election were held today. 14 percent had no opinion or were unsure.

Pataki has not shown an eagerness to hop into the contest at this point, though the favorable numbers may help national Republicans woo him into the race.

But Gillibrand looks like she's in good shape to make it through the Democratic primary.

A poll of New York Democrats found that 41 percent are inclined to support Gillibrand in a primary against Ford. 17 percent said they'd support the ex-lawmaker, while 37 percent weren't sure.

The Siena poll
, conducted Jan. 10-14, has a 3.5 percent margin of error.