ALBANY – President Obama holds a commanding lead over all would-be potential GOP challengers in the race for New York state voters, a new poll out this morning finds.
Not that confirmation was needed of New York’s blue state ways, but the Siena College poll of registered voters found Obama leading the field of Republicans by at least 25 points. The poll found the president enjoys a majority of voters’ backing in all regions of the state when respondents were asked to choose between him and the individual GOP candidates.
The poll would, if it stands, indicate Obama will have little need to spend time campaigning in New York, except for stops on the Manhattan fundraising circuit.
Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, would be the strongest GOP challenger to Obama, according to 46 percent of GOP respondents.
But, in a head-to-head matchup among all voters, Obama leads Romney 59 percent to 34 percent, with 7 percent either undecided or refusing to answer. Fifty-one percent of New York voters say they are prepared to re-elect Obama, compared to 42 percent who want someone else.
Just hours after New York City police removed Occupy Wall Street demonstrators from their 24-hour vigil in a lower Manhattan park, the poll also found 58 percent of voters think the protesters engaged in the movement across the state should be permitted to remain in parks overnight. The support for protesters being able to camp in parks was strongest among Democrats, liberals, union households and people between 18 and 34 years of age.
The poll came after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo carried through on his threat over the weekend to have protesters outside the Capitol arrested if they crossed from their safety zone of a city-owned park – where they have protested for several weeks – onto a state-owned chunk of the park. Remarkably, the Albany County district attorney, David Soares, has said he will not prosecute the 39 arrests by the State Police who acted on Cuomo’s orders. That comes after Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings last month defied Cuomo by permitting the demonstrators to stay in the city portion of the one-block park overnight. Cuomo, Soares and Jennings are all Democrats.
The poll also found that two-thirds of voters do not believe the Occupy protesters represent 99 percent of the people.
-- Tom Precious