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Polls: Kirsten Gillibrand Loses to Bill Thompson, Does Better in Split Field

This morning's Quinnipiac poll showing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand trailing former Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson, 41-28 percent in a prospective 2010 race is somewhat countered by the new Siena Poll, which shows her leading a "Democratic field" of Thompson, former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr, and labor activist Jonathan Tasini.

Siena doesn't pit Gillibrand against Thompson solo, though. They also show her losing to Rudolph Giuliani, who still hasn't made up his mind about running, 49-42, and the up-and-coming "someone else," 34-30. She does beat George Pataki, 46-43, in the Siena poll, but Quinnipiac has Giuliani beating both Gillibrand (50-40) and Thompson (52-36).

It's hard to pull a meaning out of this. Gillibrand's don't-know ratings remain very high: 58 percent of Quinnipiac respondents "haven't heard enough about her" to form a judgement, and she gets a 47 percent don't-know from Siena. It'll be hard for opponents to stick unfavorable impressions to her: the main gripe about Gillibrand has been that she's gotten more liberal in the Senate, which isn't much of a drag in New York.

Of course, versus a strongly defined character like Giuliani, she risks looking like a cypher. Her best bet is to do something wonderful; given the current situation in the Senate, we suggest she arrange to rescue puppies as often as possible.


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