Marist Poll Says Kirsten Gillibrand Struggles with Voters; Marc Cenedella Eyes Her Seat


It’s a bit of a busy — and rough — week for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. This month, she has spoken out on a wide range of topics — from food stamps to gun violence to women’s rights. But today, it’s just plain ole politics that she has to deal with.

First, a NY1/YNN-Marist Poll released Tuesday night says she’s not doing so well with voters. On top of that, her office has found itself in an odd back-and-forth with a possible Republican challenger for her Senate seat.

According to the poll, only 38% of voters definitely plan to vote for Gillibrand while nearly one in five will not cast a ballot for her. And 44% are just not sure. These numbers haven’t changed much from November, when 39% said they would support her re-election bid.

“Gillibrand struggles to convince voters that she is doing well in office,” the Marist report says.

Still, 40% say her performance is above average.

“It shows that she still has really not connected with New Yorkers,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute, told Runnin’ Scared this morning. “Her numbers have trended slowly upward…[but] the ‘unsure’ remains high.”

According to the stats, she’s definitely struggling compared to her senior colleague Sen. Chuck Schumer, who demonstrated a concrete approval rating — with 56% of voters saying he’s doing an excellent or good job.

“It just reflects her ongoing problem of getting herself established,” Miringoff said. “I think she’s been very active — it just doesn’t seem to sustain or stick over time.”

Gillibrand spokesman Glen Caplin emailed Runnin’ Scared a response, saying, “Senator Gillibrand is proud to have a strong coalition of support across the state who share her vision for growing New York’s economy.”

(It’s also worth noting that other recent polls have shown Gillibrand doing much better with a Siena poll in November saying she was looking strong for re-election and a Quinnipiac Poll putting her job approval at 50%).

(It is also ALSO worth noting that Republican Harry Wilson who was at one point a possible contender to Gillibrand has said he’s not going to run in part because she is “a formidable candidate”).

Either way, the timing of this poll is still somewhat unfortunate for Gillibrand — who has also found herself caught in a political badmouthing match with Marc Cenedella, a Republican businessman who is likely to fight for her seat.

The New York Times reported this week that a blog titled “The personal blog of Marc Cenedella” contained, until recently, strange entries about sex, drugs, and women, including posts called “Sexy vs. Skanky” and “Dating Advice for Girly Girls.”

Cenedella, who founded jobs-searching site, has since taken full responsibility for the blog — while also accusing Gillibrand of launching a “smear campaign.”

Gillibrand’s office fired back, with her spokesman saying, “Marc Cenedella has yet to answer the real question. Why did he find it appropriate to publish such clearly offensive material under his name and why did it take him 24 hours to take responsibility?”

The Huffington Post has a pretty good slideshow that chronicles the bizarre tweets and blog posts from Cenedella.

He’s also attacked her for her support of the controversial anti-piracy legislation PIPA. (She did backtrack last week along with many others).

In response to all the drama, Jay Jacobs, Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee, released a statement today comparing Cenedella to Carl Paladino , saying, “There are serious questions that remain about Marc Cenedella’s character and lack of judgment. Why did he think this material was appropriate to publish? Why doesn’t he see any need to apologize to New York women?”

In the apparently crazy world of Gillibrand’s Senate seat, there’s also this. Not really sure what to say, but check it out if you are interested!