Hochul holds strong lead in first Democratic primary poll, Cuomo far behind in third place

Gov. Kathy Hochul holds a commanding lead in a potential Democratic primary race — with disgraced predecessor Andrew Cuomo placing third in one hypothetical matchup, according to survey results released Tuesday.

The Marist Poll found Hochul leading Attorney General Letitia James, 44 percent to 28 percent, in a three-way race in which city Public Advocate Jumaane Williams trailed with just 13 percent.

In a four-way race that added Cuomo to the mix, Hochul’s lead over James narrowed to 36-24, while the former governor was favored by 19 percent and Williams by a mere 9 percent, according to the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie.

The percentages of respondents who were unsure about their choices were 13 and 12, respectively.

The poll found Gov. Hochul leading Attorney General Letitia James.
Daniel William McKnight

Hochul also scored a 49 percent approval rating, and 56 percent of respondents called her a “good leader,” in the first public poll results released since she became governor Aug. 24, after Cuomo’s resignation in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

“It’s fair to say that she is entering an election season as the early front-runner, with others — including former Gov. Andrew Cuomo — as underdogs,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Poll, said at a virtual press conference.

Miringoff said the results show “that Hochul is not an unknown entity, that she’s doing very well among Democrats and doing decently in the primary matchup.”

He also said that if Cuomo — who has gone into hiding with around $18 million in his campaign war chest — decides to run again, “he is going to need to have a substantial redefinition, a restatement of how voters in New York, especially Democrats — at least for the primary — how they view him.”

Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Former Gov. Andrew Cuomo has almost $18 million in his campaign war chest if he decides to run again.
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

James has yet to say whether she plans to run for governor next year, but The Post exclusively revealed earlier this month that she told a group of upstate Democrats to “stay tuned” during a speech in which she said she was struggling to come to a decision.

“I love what I do. I love serving as the attorney general of the great state of New York. But the question, again, is: Can I make more change?” she said during a Sept. 30 dinner hosted by the Ulster County Democratic Committee.

Williams — who was crushed by Hochul in the 2018 race for lieutenant governor, 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent — last month said he was considering a run for governor after The Post revealed he’d begun forming an exploratory committee.

On Thursday, Williams was awarded nearly $1 million in public matching funds to seek a second term as public advocate against token opposition next month, leading critics to suggest he’ll use the money to boost his image ahead of a gubernatorial campaign.

The Marist Poll surveyed 822 adult New Yorkers — including 389 registered Democrats — by phone between Oct. 4 and Thursday, and the results are considered statistically significant within 4.8 percent.

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Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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