16 October, 2006

Hevesi Fears Indictment, New York Post's Dicker Reports; Pirro Gains On Cuomo In Sienna Poll


Long-time political columnist Fred Dicker of the New York Post reports in today's paper that state Comptroller Alan Hevesi is concerned he may face an indictment over the "driving Mrs. Hevesi" scandal.

Dicker reports Democratic circles are buzzing about the possibility and that top Hevesi aides, including his press people, have been ordered not to answer scandal-related questions.

HEVESI, PIRRO RACES NOT AFFECTED BY SCANDALS, SIENNA POLL SUGGESTS; PIRRO GAINING ON CUOMO

If voters are turned off by Hevesi's use of a state employee to chauffer his wife and by the federal probe of Jeanine Pirro's alleged bugging of her husband's boat in a marital spat, it's not showing up in the polls.

A Sienna Research Institute poll released today, and conducted well after both stories broke, shows voters seem to care little about the episodes. Though the bottom-line numbers in both races have moved.

The poll shows four out of five likely voters have heard about the federal probe of Pirro, but nearly half believe its a personal issue and none of the public's business.

Interestingly, Pirro has gained on Cuomo in this poll in recent weeks. She has cut her defecit in the race for attorney general to 13 points in October from 17 points in September. However, while her favorable rating went up three points since last month, her unfavorable rating is up by 9 points to 41%. Cuomo's favorable/unfavorable numbers took an ever worse turn - going from 50/35 in Septemenr to 44/42 in October.

What to make of that? Who knows. The more we see a politician the less we like them? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing is certain, this is the only statewide race that is at all competitive.

Back to Hevesi. His lead in the polls in the race for comptroller has dropped by 6 points in the past month, which would be troubling for him if that new number weren't so large. Hevesi still leads Republican challenger Chris Callaghan 52% to 25%.

Hevesi's unfavorable rating went up 6 points since September, but it is still at a very low 21%.

According to the poll, about half of likely voters have heard of the Hevesi chauffer issue, but most say while Hevesi's behavior was inappropriate they think Hevesi did the right thing by apologizing and paying back the state. Nearly as many said it is "no big deal" as said Hevesi should resign over the matter.

THE REST OF THE NUMBERS

There's very little of interest in the rest of the Siena numbers. Democrat Eliot Spitzer's lead over Republican John Faso has FALLEN to 46 points, from 51 in September in the governor race.

Sen. Hillary Clinton's lead over John Spencer, the Republican challenger for Clinton's U.S. Senate seat, has slipped to 27 points from 29 in September.

IS LAMONT DEAD IN CONNECTICUT?

No one would seriously say so, but the left-wing blogosphere, which helped the Connecticut businessman defeat Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary is growing worried about Lamont's numbers.

Lamont seems to be running a steady 8-10 points behind Lieberman, now leading the race as an independent.

Ariana Huffington, of the lefty blog The Huffington Post, wrote an obituary of sorts for the Lamont campaign, saying it has gotten too conservative after stirring the pot and winning the primary.

Chris Cillizza, the political blogger at the Washington Post's The Fix takes a much more level-headed look at why the Lamont campaign has lost steam. A visit by Al Sharpton is mentioned as one of the problems. Click here and then scroll down (a lot).

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