18 May, 2006

McFarland Leads Spencer In Latest Quinnipiac Poll, But Clinton Favored By One In Four Republicans

We were away for a day, but we're right back into the swing of things today with the New York poll from Quinnipiac University.

In the Republican race for the U.S. Senate nomination in New York, former Pentagon spokeswoman KT McFarland leads former Yonkers mayor John Spencer 35% to 25%, the largest lead to date for the latecomer to the race.

But, in one-on-races against Sen. Hillary Clinton, McFarland and Spencer trail by a little more than 35 points. Clinton gets 24% of the Republican vote in either matchup.

Clinton has a 61% job approval rating and 51% of those polled have a favorable opinion of her.

A NEW CHALLENGER FOR CLINTON

At least one New Yorker who doesn't approve of the junior Senator has decided to take action. The Saratogian is reporting that 55 year-old Clifton Park resident Jeff Russell has been nominated by the Libertarian Party to challenge Clinton. The paper said Russell is running because he's angered by what he sees as Clinton's shift to the right. Russell told the paper Clinton seems to be running in lock step with the Bush administration.

"Senator Clinton has backed the Bush administration all along," Russell said. "She's backed him on the war in Iraq, homeland security and the Patriot Act. Now she's out there claiming the failed polices of this government are the result of one party's actions, as if her votes of support didn't matter."

William Weld, the former Massachusetts governor, got the party's nomination for governor here in New York.

A STAR IN HIS SKIES

Clinton's Democratic challenger, labor leader and anti-war activist Jonathan Tasini, is biking across the state with a new endorsement in his knapsack. Actress Susan Sarandon, who has been critical of Clinton's support for the war in Iraq, has come out in favor of Tasini. Tasini is currently in the middle of a biking excursion from Long Island to Buffalo to call attention to his
campaign.

photo credit: Stephanie Cannon

MORE STAR POWER

John Hall, who is one of several Democratic hopefuls in the race for New York's 19th District is getting a little help from his friends in the music business. The former member of the 70s band Orleans will benefit from a string of fundraisers that will feature a bigger musical name (sorry John) from the 70s - Jackson Browne. Click here for a schedule of dates, times and a list of performers.

Hall's campaign also announced a few endorsements in the past couple of days. The Democratic committees for Poughkeepsie and Beacon as well as the Mid-Hudson Progressive Alliance have endorsed Hall's candidacy.

Republican Sue Kelly is the incumbent in the race.

GORE IN SHOW BIZ - WITH A STRONG STATEMENT ON GLOBAL WARNING

Former presidential candidate Al Gore may not be a movie star like Susan Sarandon, but he's creating quite a stir as a movie producer. Gore's movie about the effects of global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, opens next Wednesday in New York. It should be a powerful film, judging by the trailer. Take a few minutes to check it out, you'll be intrigued and alarmed. Or at least you should be!

BACK TO THE "Q" POLL

Some other notes from today's Qunnipiac Poll.

President Bush's approval rating is 22% in New York, and 50% among Republicans. Seventy-four percent disapprove of Bush's handling of the war and 67% say going to war in Iraq was the wrong thing to do.

In the Democratic race for attorney general, Andrew Cuomo is favored by 34% of Democrats compared with 26% for Mark Green. Twenty-eight percent remain undecided. No other candidate got more than 3%.

Cuomo leads Republican Jeanine Pirro 49% to 33%, while Green holds a 46% to 33% lead over Pirro in one-on-one matchups.

No polling was done on the governor's race this time around.

RUDY AND RALPH

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has long been a supporter of gay civil unions, today said heterosexual marriage was "inviolate," according to a story to be published in Friday's New York Times. Giuliani was campaigning for the former leader of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, who is running for lieutenant governor in Georgia.

Should we be surprised? A few days ago, another potential 2008 GOP presidential candidate - Sen. John McCain of Arizona - spoke at the commencement ceremonies at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University. McCain once referred to Falwell and other evangelical leaders as "agents of intolerance."

KARBEN OUT

Second-term state Assemblyman Ryan Karben, a Democrat from Spring Valley, abruptly quit the legislature today. Karben's campaign Web site had no announcement, but Capitol Confidential did publish a statement from the 31 year-old from the 95th District who said he wanted to devote more time to his law practice.







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