If Republicans are looking to pick up a long shot Senate seat in the Northeast this fall our polling suggests they should probably look past Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut to Kirsten Gillibrand in New York.
It's not that Gillibrand looks to be in particularly dire shape- she leads Joe DioGuardi 50-40 in our new poll- but the candidates in New York are much less defined than the ones in Connecticut and give the GOP more room for growth.
For instance while Linda McMahon is already viewed unfavorably by a majority of voters in Connecticut, 44% of New York voters have yet to develop an opinion of DioGuardi and those who have see him positively by a 32/24 margin. There's a lot more room for him to establish himself as an appealing candidate than there is for McMahon.
Similarly although Gillibrand has a decent 42/37 approval rating she's not nearly as popular as Blumenthal, who 53% of voters view favorably. Republicans would have a much better chance at turning voters against Gillibrand, who's not that well defined in the eyes of the electorate, than Blumenthal who's been around forever.
New York's expensive though and at the end of the day Republicans probably won't have the resources to really go after Gillibrand. She's losing an unusual number of Democrats to DioGuardi at 19% but she's also winning over an inordinate number of Republicans for this cycle at 23%. And she trails DioGuardi by just a single point with independents, a far better performance with that group of voters than most Democrats across the country are mustering this year.
If the odds look good for Gillibrand, they look even better for Chuck Schumer in New York's other Senate race. Schumer has a 59-37 lead over Jay Townsend. He's got his party pretty much completely behind him at 86% and he's winning the most crossover support of any Democratic Senate candidate we've polled on besides Daniel Inouye at 28%. Schumer's 57% approval rating is the best out of 60 Senators we've polled on so far in 2010.
Full results here