Paladino closing the gap on Cuomo

September 22, 2010 2:25:43 PM PDT
If the people who advise Andrew Cuomo had any thought of him simply waltzing into office by fiat, their notion likely got a swift kick in the pants today.

A new Quinnipiac poll shows Carl Paladino, the Tea Party-backed Republican few heard of before his New York gubernatorial primary victory last week, closing to within six points of Cuomo, the Democratic nominee and, until today, the man considered a slam dunk to win in November and become the second Cuomo to lead the state in the past 20 years. In fact, when our political reporter Dave Evans was on set last night talking about the race, he cited the most recent poll as having Cuomo leading by 16%, a significant margin.

The margin seems significant tonight for its closeness.

Fascinating if Mr. Cuomo would be getting hit with a "throw the bums out" mentality, since he has held only one elected office, and for just four years.

The timing was fascinating as well. Just hours after the poll came out, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed Cuomo. Hardly a surprising endorsement, but, again, the timing was the story.

And what a star turn, no matter how long it lasts, for Mr. Paladino, whose dissing of women and Jews and blacks (including Pres. Obama) has brought him no small amount of outrage from those offended constituencies. There are those who watch his off-the-cuff, angry-as-hell Howard Beal style of responding to interview questions, and determine he's a bit baffoonish.

But Mr. Paladino has a ton of money (he's pledged to fund his own campaign with about $10 million of his own dough), and he clearly taps into some deep and angry body politic sentiment.

There are 41 days until the election, which can be an eternity in politics - so lots can happen. One way or another. His rise in the polls certainly makes it more likely that Mr. Cuomo will in fact accept Mr. Paladino's offer(s) to debate.

We'll have the latest on the race, and reaction to the poll, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, we're following the busy schedule of Pres. Obama, who's in New York tonight and tomorrow - attending fundraisers tonight and speaking to the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. And have you tried driving around Manhattan this week? Sheesh. Not sure if I've brought this up before, and with all due apologies to my friends at the Sanitation Department (the garbage guys are a nice bunch, at least in my neighborhood), but why don't they collect trash overnight, when blocking the street won't inconvenience anyone? Yes, it might be a tad noisy for a few minutes, but the gridlock caused by garbage trucks on east-west streets in Manhattan is a waste of time and money. Kids are late to school, folks are late to work, and tempers are flaring early in the morning. Why not do this work when no one is on the streets? I'm just sayin'.

And for all those peeps who are straining their eyes more these days and enjoying it less, we have some answers at 11. Your squinting may not be part of any natural aging process. Instead, it could be from using your computer or Blackberry or iPad. And the problem should be taken seriously.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, which includes some strong storms moving in tonight, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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