ALBANY, N.Y. – A week after the 2005 elections, a new statewide poll showed Democrats in strong shape headed into the 2006 elections.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer hold huge leads over potential rivals in their respective races for Senate and governor, according to the poll released Monday by Siena College's Research Institute.
The biggest prize last week — New York City mayor — went to the GOP as Michael Bloomberg was re-elected, the fourth straight mayoral election won by Republicans in the heavily Democratic city. But elsewhere in the state, Democrats made significant gains in traditionally Republican strongholds.
"By virtually all accounts, the 2005 elections were a major disappointment for New York Republicans and unfortunately for them, they start 2006 considerably behind the Democrats in the two most important elections," said Joseph Caruso, the institute's polling director.
Dissatisfaction within the GOP has begun to surface.
"Last Tuesday, we lost just about everything, and we don't have any viable candidates for next year," top GOP fundraiser Georgette Mosbacher told the New York Post.
"Our New York party leaders have tried to be everything to everybody, and what's now happened to us is that we've become nothing to everyone."
The poll found that Clinton led Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro by 59 percent to 31 percent in a hypothetical matchup. Several other Republicans are eyeing the GOP Senate nomination.
In the governor's race, Spitzer led billionaire businessman B. Thomas Golisano by 58 percent to 26 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld by 64 percent to 16 percent. Republican Gov. George Pataki is not seeking a fourth term.
Siena's telephone poll of 622 registered voters was conducted Wednesday through Friday and has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.