Six weeks after education activist and advocate Cynthia Nixon announced her bid for governor—and just four months until the Democratic primary—Gov. Andrew Cuomo still holds a big lead over Nixon among New York State voters, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University on Wednesday.
Fifty percent of registered Democrats said they would vote for Cuomo if the Democratic primary were being held today, compared to 28 percent who said that they would vote for Nixon, who announced her candidacy in March.
And 49 percent of Democratic women back Cuomo, compared to 24 percent who support Nixon and another 27 percent who are undecided, the poll found. Men back the governor by 51 percent, compared to 34 percent for Nixon and another 15 percent who are undecided.
Cuomo also beat Duchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, the presumptive Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race, in a two-way general election matchup, by 57 percent to 26 percent.
Voters also expressed unfamiliarity with Cuomo’s challengers, with 52 percent of voters saying they do not know enough about Nixon to form an opinion about her, compared to 74 percent who are unfamiliar with Molinaro.
“Actress Cynthia Nixon is a nuisance to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he seeks a third term, but at this stage, she is not running strong enough to make either the Democratic primary or general election challenge successful,” Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. “Only half the electorate knows her. And in a three-way race that includes Republican Marc Molinaro, Gov. Cuomo does about as well as his two challengers combined.”
Last month, the Working Families Party (WFP) endorsed Nixon. If Nixon is on the November ballot as the WFP candidate in the general election in November, the governor’s support drops to 40 percent, with 23 percent for Molinaro and 20 percent for Nixon.
The poll also found that 54 percent of state voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing, compared to 39 percent who do not—his highest approval rating since he received a 58 percent approval rating and 32 percent disproval rating in a December 2014 Quinnipiac poll.
Voters gave the governor a 49 percent favorability rating, compared to a 41 percent unfavorability rating. And 67 percent said Cuomo has strong leadership qualities, with another 51 percent saying that he cares about their needs and problems. But only 46 percent of voters said they believe he is honest and trustworthy, compared to 45 percent who do not.
Still, voters generally prefer candidates who have experience in politics over someone who is new to politics, at 60 percent, compared to 29 percent who had the opposite view.
From April 26 to May 1, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,076 New York State voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. The survey included 473 Democrats, with a margin of error of plus or minus 5.7 percentage points.
In March, a poll by Siena College Research Institute found that 66 percent of registered voters said they would vote for Cuomo, compared to 19 percent who said they support Nixon.