NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new poll shows New York’s Gov. Cuomo holding a massive 41-point lead over Cynthia Nixon with just days to go before the Democratic primary.
While it’s good news for the governor, many political pros say 2018 is the kind of year where the polls may be spot on, or way, way off.
The newest Siena College poll shows Andrew Cuomo leading his primary challenger 63 percent to 22 percent. The 41-point deficit doesn’t give Nixon much to smile about, but the actress and activist played the role of optimist while campaigning at Grand Central Terminal.
“I feel very excited. we’re seeing an enormous momentum,” Nixon said.
The weekend landed a one-two punch on the Cuomo campaign. Safety concerns delayed the full opening of the governor’s pet project – the new Tappan Zee Bridge renamed for his father – which critics say Cuomo rushed for political gain.
Then a widely-condemned mailer – that portrayed Nixon as soft on anti-Semitism – was sent to New Yorkers.
The flyer is labeled as having been paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee, which denounced the mailing Saturday night. Nixon, who is raising her children in the Jewish faith, called the flyers “not only an attack on my family, but on all New Yorkers.”
Political scientist Jeanne Zaino says the incidents may reinforce a problematic narrative for Cuomo.
“Which is this idea that this is a guy entrenched in politics, who will do anything to win, even play dirty, even play ugly,” Zaino said.
The Nixon campaign is reportedly pinning its hopes on places like Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County. Nicknamed “Park Slope North,” there are signs her candidacy is resonating there.
CBS2’s Tony Aiello reports that the challenger’s campaign signs far outnumber the current governor’s support in the reliably democratic area.
Cuomo is reportedly spending big to ward off the challenge; fully aware of recent surprises that have shocked political pros.
“Well the great question is, can you outspend someone 10-to-1 and still lose an election? There’s no history of that until the last couple of years. Now with a change in demographic, with a change in party base, who comes out in elections, everything is up in the air,” political commentator Richard Brodsky said.
Cuomo knows Congressman Joe Crowley was up by 35 in one poll before losing his primary by 15 points. Still – in a statewide race – no one has ever been up 41 points days before the election and lost.
Nixon was hoping for an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, but he has not picked sides in the governor’s race. Sanders only endorsed candidates for New York Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General.