This story has been updated to include comments from the campaign of Rob Astorino.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo still holds a sizeable lead in a potential matchup against Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino in the fall, but more voters think a Republican can beat the incumbent, according to a new poll.
Among the 813 New York registered voters polled from March 16 to March 20, 61 percent said they would vote for Cuomo and 26 percent said they would vote for Astorino in a head-to-head matchup. This is slightly down from 64-22 percent last month.
“For the governor, the good news is that he maintains a strong 35-point lead over his likely challenger, he continues to have a strong favorability rating and almost two-thirds of voters think he’s been an effective governor,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said. “The bad news for him is that his job performance rating is the lowest it’s been since November, and for the first time, only a plurality – not a majority – of voters are prepared to re-elect him.”
The plurality of voters refers to the 49 percent of respondents who said they would vote to re-elect Cuomo, compared to 41 percent who said they prefer someone else. Asked if they think a Republican can unseat Cuomo, 47 percent said yes and 43 percent said no.
Greenberg said this is good news for Astorino , but “the bad news is that he remains unknown to two-thirds of voters and among those who know him slightly more view him unfavorably than favorably.”
Astorino’s favorable rating was 17-19, with 65 percent having no opinion, up from 11-15-73 last month.
"Slowly but surely people are recognizing that this governor is a fraud and things have actually gotten worse under his leadership," Jessica Proud, spokeswoman for Astorino's campaign, said in a statement. "We are still the highest taxed, least business-friendly state in the nation and Cuomo's Common Core has been disastrous for our children. New Yorkers know that our state is not on a winning path."
Among the 19 percent of respondents who said they are better off economically than they were four years ago, 82 percent support Cuomo over Astorino. That number drops to 66-23 percent among the majority 52 percent of respondents who said they are the same economically. Astorino takes a 41-38 percent advantage among the 28 percent who say they are worse off economically today.
The Siena College poll has a 3.4-percent margin of error and people were chosen by random digital dialing.