The Siena poll out today reports that Andrew Cuomo leads Carl Paladino 56-32 among likely voters (margin of error +/- 3.9 points). And among independents, Cuomo leads 50-39.
Siena's last poll on the governor's race, in September, reported Cuomo up 57-24 on Paladino (that poll also included the now-dropped out Rick Lazio, and it was of registered voters). So, in some sense Paladino has picked up a bit of ground. But he's bumping up against this political problem:
+ 59 percent of respondents in this new poll say they have an unfavorable opinion of Paladino
+ 61 percent agreed that he's "a loose cannon who doesn't have the temperament to be governor." (Yep, this poll was conducted after the Bolton Landing Brouhaha.)
+ Cuomo also has a wide lead when voters were asked which candidate would do better on a range of issues (except taxes).
FiveThirtyEight's prediction model currently has Cuomo with a 97.8 percent chance of winning (the model doesn't include today's Siena poll).
The story (legend?) of Carl Paladino got even stranger this week when he told the Syracuse Post-Standard that he helped defuse a hostage situation at Syracuse University while he was a law student there in 1970. It's a great story... except for the fact that other people -- and archived press clips -- say it didn't happen (emphasis added):
Then on May 7, a dissident faction of students occupied the administration building. According to Paladino, the students wouldn't let SU Chancellor John Corbally out of the building.
"When the riots came, I was the one who negotiated for Chief Sardino to take the place of the chancellor, who the students had locked down in the administration building ..," he said. "Sardino had the idea that he would come up and they would let the chancellor leave and take him as their hostage, if you wanted to call it. ... So when Sardino came up with this idea I negotiated with these guys, who agreed to let the chancellor go and take Sardino in his place ...
"Sardino asked me if I would do it, and I said sure. So I went out and found them and I said, you know, 'Take the police commissioner and let the chancellor go home. The guy's got to take a shower, I mean for God sakes ...' So they said, 'Yeah, OK'."
David Bennett, an SU history professor who visited the administration building during the protest, scoffed at Paladino's account.
"That's completely wrong," he said. "He's either living in Cloud Cuckooland or, shall we say, his historical memory is clouded by whatever it is."
And one more random Paladino item: his pitbull reportedly bit a Labrador after a Tea Party rally near the Finger Lakes. [NYT]
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