A Sienna College poll released Tuesday gives Democrat Andrew Cuomo an overwhelming lead among Jewish voters in the race for governor.
In a matchup against Republican Carl Paladino, 75 percent of Jews surveyed said they preferred Cuomo, the state attorney general, while 16 percent backed the Buffalo businessman. That was the largest margin of any religious group, with 54 percent of Protestants choosing Cuomo and 32 percent favoring Paladino. Catholics were closely divided between the candidates, both of whom are Catholic, giving Cuomo only a four percent edge, 47 to 43 percent, a statistical tie given the poll’s 3.9 percent margin of error.
Cuomo polled extremely well among African Americans, with 94 percent supporting Cuomo and no respondents backing Paladino. Black voters were 10 percent of the poll sample.
Jews were also more certain than other voters about their choice, with 72 percent saying they were “absolutely certain” about their candidate and there was “no chance” of changing their minds, as opposed to 57 percent of Protestants and 62 percent of Catholics who chose that answer.
Overall, the poll found that 56 percent of likely voters surveyed would choose Cuomo while 32 percent said they would vote for Paladino.
The poll was taken on Sunday and Monday, October 3 and 4, following bad publicity for Paladino after he angrily confronted New York Post reporter Fred Dicker, alleging that paper sent a reporter to photograph his young daughter.
The college contacted 636 people by telephone, about 14 percent of whom identified themselves as Jewish, said pollster Steven Greenberg. While the number of Jews polled, 87, is small, he said, the wide margin indicates unmistakably strong support for Cuomo.
“Even if the margin of error was 10 percent, you’re talking about a blowout among Jewish voters,” said Greenberg. He said the likely factors were strong Jewish affiliation with the Democratic Party and the fact that most Jews live downstate and so their first impressions of Paladino have been defined by recent negative news coverage, not by his profile as a business leader in his home territory in western New York.
“Also, Andrew Cuomo is a known entity in the Jewish community and has a long history there,” said Greenberg. Cuomo was closely involved in the campaigns of his father, Mario Cuomo, who served as governor from 1983-1994.
When asked if Cuomo was “too much of an Albany insider to effectively reform state government,” only 26 percent of Jews agreed, while 67 percent disagreed.
Asked if Paladino is “a loose cannon who doesn’t have the temperament to be governor,” 74 percent of Jews agreed, while 21 percent disagreed.