New York State of Mind Still Not Republican

Another factor to consider was brought up at CQ Politics, who point out that Rudy could inadvertently aid the Democrats if he does toss his hat in the gubernatorial ring. Right now, Andrew Cuomo is keeping his cards close to the vest, not wanting to start a civil war in his own party while Paterson is still insisting he wants to run for a full term of his own. And he’ll want to tread carefully, since the governor has already shown that he will use the race card at the drop of a hat.

If Cuomo stays on the sidelines, a concerted effort by the GOP could push one of their candidates into a stronger position against the embattled governor. But if Rudy is in the hunt and it’s clear that Paterson will get trounced -- the poll shows Giuliani beating him 56 to 33 -- that would give the AG the cover he needs to make a run at the nomination during the primary.

Things also look a little better on the Senate front for the Republicans. Kirsten Gillibrand is turning out to have relatively soft support, and the Siena numbers show former Governor George Pataki leading her 42 to 39, while she beats Congressman Pete King by a margin of 46 to 24. (Should it come to a primary battle, Pataki thrashes King by a two-to-one margin, currently.)

Chuck Schumer, as always, maintains high favorability ratings and his seat seems safe. Given the way his star has been rising recently in the Democratic Party on the national level, he has no compelling reason to seek greener pastures and I doubt the Republicans will put up more than token opposition to him next year.

So how to explain this rough ground for Republicans in a state so obviously fed up with their current leadership? A good clue may be found in their national views. President Obama’s approval ratings have now gone upside down for the first time across the land according to the latest polls by both Gallup and Rasmussen. But in New York, he still maintains a staggering 70 percent level of support. (That figure, believe it or not, includes 35 percent of the Republicans and 72 percent of the independents.) With followers such as that in the face of economic calamity, it’s not hard to believe that the GOP will face a tough slog here next fall.

So, again, New York is New York. The voters may lose patience with Democrats from time to time, but a fair number of them seem willing to simply usher in a new group of Democrats rather than risking a roll of the dice on the Republicans. This doesn’t mean that the GOP should fold their hand, though. Even picking off one Senate seat in the Northeast would be a major coup after the beatings they sustained in their last two at-bats. But they will need to be aware of that New York state of mind. And it’s not always a very stable one.