Siena poll: Cuomo has big lead over Astorino

Nominees N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his running mate, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, state Attorney Gen. Eric Schneiderman, and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, left to right, acknowledge applause after Cuomo's speech at the state's Democratic Convention, in Melville, N.Y., Thursday, May 22, 2014. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has launched his bid for a second term with a progressive call to action and a boost from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Nominees N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, his running mate, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, state Attorney Gen. Eric Schneiderman, and state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, left to right, acknowledge applause after Cuomo's speech at the state's Democratic Convention, in Melville, N.Y., Thursday, May 22, 2014. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has launched his bid for a second term with a progressive call to action and a boost from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to enjoy a commanding lead over Republican challenger Rob Astorino, who remains largely unknown among voters, according to a poll of New York voters released Monday.

The Siena College poll gives Cuomo a 57 percent to 21 percent lead over Astorino, the Westchester County executive. The poll shows that while 63 percent of voters have a favorable view of Cuomo, 69 percent of respondents have no opinion of Astorino.

“Good news is good news. I’m happy,” Cuomo told public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom” on Monday.

Astorino said he expects to narrow the race significantly through the summer and early fall as his campaign releases new advertisements. He received some national attention on Monday with an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“That’s what a campaign is about,” Astorino told reporters. “I’m really, truly not concerned. I got the results (of the poll) last night and I slept like a baby.”

The telephone poll was conducted June 8-12 and included 835 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said Astorino can still narrow the gap — but probably only if he quickly introduces himself with statewide advertisements.

“Astorino has a huge gap to close, and it’s hard to beat a popular incumbent when you face a two-to-one party disadvantage and you are unknown to two-thirds of voters,” Greenberg said.

The poll had similarly good news for the campaigns of two other Democratic incumbents.

In the attorney general’s race, 41 percent would re-elect Eric Schneiderman. While 12 percent have a favorable opinion of Republican John Cahill, 78 percent have no opinion.

In the comptroller’s race, 38 percent would re-elect Thomas DiNapoli. While 9 percent have a favorable opinion of Republican Robert Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, 82 percent have no opinion.

Overall, respondents said they were satisfied with the coalition of Republicans and renegade Democrats who now control the state Senate, with 59 percent saying they’d like the coalition to remain in control after the fall elections. Democrats are hoping to retake control of the chamber this fall, either by beating Republicans or by persuading the faction of breakaway Democrats to return to the party fold.

The poll also found support for some type of medical marijuana program and proposals to let local governments set a minimum wage that’s higher than the state minimum.

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