Poll: George Pataki would beat both Kirsten Gillibrand and Harold Ford in New York

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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If former New York Gov. George Pataki, a Republican, runs this year for the New York Senate seat held by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, he could beat both her and her Democratic challenger.

A Siena College Research Institute poll of registered voters released today shows Pataki beating Gillibrand 51 percent to 38 percent. A December Seina poll showed Gillibrand leading Pataki 46 percent to 43 percent.

The new poll has Pataki besting former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, who is said to be preparing to challenge Gillibrand in the Democratic primary, 54 percent to 32 percent.

The poll also shows that for the first time in her year as New York senator, more voters view Gillibrand unfavorably, 32 percent, than those who view her favorably, 30 percent. Yet Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said she will not be an easy opponent for Ford, who polls show is still unknown to nearly two-thirds of voters in New York.

“Gillibrand enters 2010 with a strong lead in a potential Democratic primary against Ford. She has the support of 41 percent of Democrats, compared to 17 percent for Ford, 5 percent for Jonathan Tasini, and 37 percent still undecided,” Greenberg said.

Gillibrand was appointed to the New York Senate seat in 2009 after then-Sen. Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State in the Obama administration.