Bloomberg Endorses Cuomo For NY Gov As Paladino’s Poll Numbers Shake Up Race
New Yorkers may be mad as Hell, but if their version of not taking it anymore includes electing Carl Paladino Governor, the Empire State is in
for a crude awakening that could make the Spitzer prostitution scandal read like a Hallmark card. And that disgraceful fate may not be so far-fetched. As the GOP brass still reels after the brash Buffalo businessman trounced the Party endorsed candidate, Rick Lazio, in the Republican primary last week, the folks in his Democratic challenger, Andrew Cuomo’s campaign have to contend with startling poll numbers released today.
The Quinnipiac Institute Poll found Cuomo, New York state’s current Attorney General and son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, leading Paladino by a slim 6 point margin, 49% to 43.%
Considering Cuomo had been viewed as the presumptive winner in this deep blue state for months, this poll of 751 likely voters statewide has rocked the AG’s so-far subdued campaign. But Cuomo kicked things into high gear Wednesday when he stood next to Michael Bloomberg and received New York City’s perennially favorite mayor’s public endorsement.
“New Yorkers deserve a leader in Albany who is committed to cleaning up the ethical mess in Albany and reforming government,” Bloomberg said, adding that Cuomo would be a reliable partner to take on the special interests. “He has time and time again made performance and integrity his top priorities.”
And therein lies Cuomo’s lagging support. Change trumps experience. Take a look at the way the Quinnipiac poll breaks down:
According to those surveyed, the most important asset a candidate can offer:
Bring About Change: 41 %
Values Similar to Mine: 22%
Honest & Trustworthy: 21%
Has the Right Experience: 10 %
The Tea Party renegade may not have the so-called “right experience,” but he does stand for change. Or so he claims. Paladino, whose campaign is fueled by by ire without solutions ( unless, of course, you consider stashing welfare recipients into vacant prisons to learn personal hygiene a sound solution), has been goading Cuomo into a series of debates, often hurling street slang aimed at questioning his opponent’s manhood. Such a classy display also reminds people of the slew of pornographic and racist e-mails Paladino unapologetically sent to friends and colleagues.
But an electorate swept up in a throw out the old bums, bring in the new wave, may fall for this bold. angry swagger. Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael Caputo was quick with this statement:
“Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Andrew Cuomo is a dog bites man story. His Royal Highness opposes the will of the people on the Mosque and subverted the will of the people on term limits, so its no surprise Bloomberg is missing the point on this important election and climbing into the same royal coach as Prince Andrew. One upside to this: the two can stop passing Grey Poupon back and forth from their limousines. It’s holding up traffic on Park Avenue.”
So now Cuomo, who had been set to coast to victory cast as the dignified statesman, relying on both his own reputation and his political birthright, is scrambling to shift course. Anyone who knows anything about New York politics knows he is quite capable of playing hardball. He may have to use those sharp elbows that knocked out more than a few political teeth years ago when he spearheaded his daddy’s rough-and-tumble races against Ed Koch.
Today, Cuomo showed signs of finessing the voters’ outrage to his advantage, saying:
“So we are all angry! Okay, what do you want to do? ” he asked. “We can have an Anger Party, celebrate that anger. Or we can say let’s take that anger, let’s take the energy, let’s focus it to actually correct the problem. Let’s actually have progress for the state. And that’s what my campaign is all about.”
If any candidate is savvy and seasoned enough to exploit the nexus of that old scrappy political operative with the effective crusader he has become, it’s Andrew Cuomo. He’ll likely debate Paladino, once or twice, on his own terms. And soundly clean crazy Carl’s clock. And he may get some help from Paladino’s former rival Lazio, who remains on the ballot on the Conservative Party line.
As for the electorate: we’d be wise to realize anger is an emotion, not a solution. It’s time to channel that anger into working for candidates who will bring about real change. Not the ones who just spout one liner rhetoric at the top of their lungs.
Please follow Amy Beth Arkawy on Twitter.