Friday, January 23, 2009

Our Polling on Gillibrand

When we did a poll last month just of New York Democrats on their feelings about who should be appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, we found that 19% had a favorable opinion of Kirsten Gillibrand and 12% saw her unfavorably, with 69% having no opinion one way or the other. It's safe to say that Gillibrand is an unknown quantity to most voters in the state.

Gillibrand particularly has some work to do to up her profile in the greater New York City area. In the city itself 79% of respondents didn't know enough about her to form an opinion, with 11% of voters seeing her favorably and 10% unfavorably. It's a similar story in the suburbs where 77% of Democrats didn't know who she was and her favorables ran 12/11.

Her numbers were considerably better in Upstate New York, where her Congressional district is and in media markets where her campaigns ads have run and there's been more coverage of her work in Washington, but even there 57% of Democratic voters had no opinion of her with 29% holding a positive impression and 14% viewing her negatively.

She's going to have a lot of work to do in the NYC media market over the next year to build up her name recognition and image, and there's definitely some potential she could be vulnerable to a primary challenge next year from a candidate better known in that area, where a large percentage of Democratic primary votes are cast.

It'll largely come down to how well she can mend any fences within the party that need mending after this appointment process, and how much positive visibility she can achieve in this first year as a Senator.

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