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NY Poll: Send Clinton to White House, Pataki Home

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton remains strong for her re-election bid this year, and a majority of New York voters think she would make a fine president, a statewide poll showed Friday.

New Yorkers are not nearly as well disposed to the notion of Republican Gov. George Pataki running for president, according to the poll. Pataki, who is considering a run for the White House, announced in July he would not seek a fourth, four-year term this year.

The poll, from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, found Democrat Clinton sporting 2-1 leads over her best-known potential challengers for this year's Senate race, with better than 3-1 leads among female voters.

Asked how she would be as president, 14 percent of New York voters said the former first lady would be "great" and 37 percent said "good." Twenty percent said Clinton would make a "so-so" president, and 22 percent said she would be "bad."

Clinton leads national polls among potential Democratic contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination.

"Senator Hillary Clinton says she's not thinking about 2008, but she might as well be," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Conn.-based polling institute. "She doesn't seem to have any political problems in 2006."

The poll showed Clinton ahead of former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer, 60 percent to 30 percent, and Manhattan lawyer Edward Cox, a son-in-law of President Nixon, 60 percent to 29 percent. Seventy-five percent of voters said they didn't know enough about Cox to form an opinion about him. Eighty-four percent said that about Spencer.

On Pataki, just 6 percent of New York voters and 14 percent of Republicans said they would definitely vote for him if he ran for president in 2008. One in five Republican voters said they would definitely not vote for him.

Fifteen percent of New York voters said they would be more likely to vote for the GOP presidential ticket in 2008 if Pataki were on it as the vice presidential candidate, while 24 percent of voters said that would make it less likely they would vote Republican.

Quinnipiac's telephone poll of 1,095 registered voters was conducted Jan. 10-16 and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points.