New poll: Cynthia Nixon may accidentally destroy New York’s Republican Party

A new poll in the New York gubernatorial contest, conducted by Quinnipiac University, puts incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo at 40% in a three way general election scenario, with Republican nominee Marc Molinaro earning 23%, and Working Families’ nominee Cynthia Nixon taking 20% of the vote.

That Ms. Nixon nearly comes in second has sent shockwaves through the Republican Party’s statewide organization.  Republican operatives, party contributors, and high-end taxpayers are in crisis mode — and calling into question the largely lackluster candidacy of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

New York State’s Board of Elections is designed to empower the two parties that earn the most number of votes in the gubernatorial election every four years.  The two largest vote-getters split the Board’s patronage jobs in each county across the State, forming the backbone of the party’s organization.

If Nixon defeats Molinaro, it would be a death knell for the Republican Party in New York State.  Such a scenario would make Nixon the titular head of a leftist party formally split from the Democrats — an enormous position of influence over the governing party.

A three party system with the organized Republican party essentially shutdown, New York politics could become frighteningly left-leaning very quickly.

In the aftermath of the new data, the Republican Party nominating convention later this month — May 23rd and 24th — looks far less certain a conclusion. There has been much chatter in political circles that Tea Party activists want Carl Paladino to campaign for the nomination at the convention, but a Paladino associate said no ‘convention coup’ is currently planned.

In a three-way race, his supporters argue that Paladino could win with the same 33.5% of the electorate that voted for him in 2010.  The poll suggests that Paladino could be a safer bet in defending the Party’s ballot position than Molinaro.

The scenario is not without precedent.  In 1990, when the Republicans ran a particularly weak candidate against Mario Cuomo, the Conservative Party nearly took the second line; and in 2002 it looked like Independence Party nominee Tom Golisano would earn the coveted ballot position.

The same Quinnipiac poll puts Cuomo’s statewide favorability at 54%, that’s up from a Siena College poll last month that put his favorability at 49%.


Dutchess County Executive with Martin Babinec, an Albany area venture capitalist who is active in State politics. Babinec ran for Congress against Republican Claudia Tenny in 2016.


    • We did not conduct the poll, Quinnipiac University did. We would love to interview Mr. Sharpe and can’t wait to see polling data with the full field of candidates included.

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