Downstate New York Republicans think Kirsten Gillibrand is one of the most liberal senators in Washington, DC, but they don't have much confidence that challenger Wendy Long can win her seat: That's the main finding of Patch's inaugural Red Empire political insiders poll.
More than three-quarters of elected officials, party leaders, activists and other influencers surveyed last week said they expect Gillibrand to win, with 50 percent saying they strongly agree that a Democratic victory is a lock.
Only 10 percent of respondents thought Manhattan attorney Wendy Long could win the race.
Though more than a month has gone by since Long beat U.S. Rep. Bob Turner and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos in the Republican primary, respondents were split down the middle when it came to how familiar they are with Long's platform.
When it comes to Long's stance on the economy, 48 percent said they were either not familiar or barely familiar with Long's approach to fiscal issues. Meanwhile, 39 percent said they were somewhat familiar with her stance while 13 said they were very familiar.
Long has called herself a Reagan Conservative, favoring less regulation and reduced taxes for business.
Despite respondents being unfamiliar with Long's platform, 66 percent said they thought Republicans picked the best candidate in the primary. Meanwhile, 24 percent would have favored Turner and 10 percent would have preferred Maragos to face Gillibrand in November.
In our first Red Empire Survey, Patch sent questionnaires to 96 key party activists, elected officials and others from the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, Brooklyn and Queens who agreed to anonymously give their opinions in a series of surveys between now and November. Patch this week received completed surveys from 31 people—nearly 30 percent of those surveyed.
Among those who have agreed to take part are several town supervisors, state Assembly members and Senators, county legislators, city council members, community board members and congressional candidates.
Respondents also backed Long's campaign claim that Gillibrand is one of the most liberal politicians in Washington. About 74 percent of respondents agreed that Gillibrand is too liberal, while 13 percent disagreed with that claim and another 13 percent said they did not know.
The response was interesting since Gillibrand was criticized for her conservative stances when Gov. David Paterson appointed her to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton in 2009, most notably her pro-NRA stance on gun control. The senator has said her stance has shifted to the left since she joined the Senate.
On the other hand, when it came to Gillibrand's very un-liberal decision to break with the Democratic Party in 2011 and vote against raising the federal debt ceiling, Republican respondents mostly sided with the senator: 70 percent agreed with her vote, 30 percent did not.
The Red Empire Survey
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in New York. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Surveys were conducted between July 23 and July 31, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Empire State and Blue Empire State surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in New York. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly survey that lasts just a few minutes, please email Henry@patch.com.
Red Empire Roster: Linda Cabral Marrero, Village of Ossining Mayoral Candidate, Pete Tripodi, Town of Ossining Councilman, Kim Izzarelli, 95th New York State Assembly District Candidate, Bob Terilli, Former Village of Ossining Trustee Candidate, Steve Dewey, Former Town of Ossining Councilman Candidate, John Murphy, Rockand County Legislator, Denis Troy, Orangetown Councilman, Paul Valentine, Orangetown Councilman, Tom Diviny, Orangetown Councilman, Tom Morr, Orangetown Councilman, Quinton Van Wynen, Pearl River Schools, Richie Bell, Head of the Pelham Republican Committee, Michael Recca, Westchester County Young Republicans, Michele Em, Activist, Steve Fuchs, Republican Town Committee Chairman, Elizabeth Bermel, Director of the Scarsdale Library, Jim Maisano, County Legislator, Ilyse Spertus, Former City Council Candidate, Peter Parente, Former Mayoral Candidate, Dennis Starr, Activist, Denise Ward, Attorney, Norm Rosenblum, Village of Mamaroneck Mayor, Lou Santoro, Village of Mamaroneck Deputy Mayor/Trustee, Maryanne Genovese, Party Chairwoman, Don Derrico, Party Chairman, Donald Sutherland, Republican Committee Secretary, Marlane Amelio, Councilwoman, Steve Malfitano, Councilman/Former Supervisor, Joe Cannella, Councilman, Luke Vander Linden, Bedford GOP Member, Robert Castelli, State Assemblyman, Lee Roberts, Bedford Town Supervisor, Don Scott, Bedford GOP Chair, Nan Hayworth, Congresswoman, Ed Day, Rockland County Legislator, Bob Axelrod, Clarkstown Republican Committee Chair, Christopher Carey, Rockland County Legislator, Frank Borelli, Clarkstown Town Councilman, Vincent Reda, Rockland County GOP Chair and Mitt Romney Lower Hudson Valley Campaign Coordinator, Matthew Slater, Vice President of Yorktown GOP, Terrence Murphy, Yorktown Councilman, Jennie Menton-Grasso, Community Member, Tony Grasso, Former Yorktown Councilman, Elizabeth Hudak, Southeast Councilwoman, Will Stephens, Former State Assemblyman, Jim Schoenig, Mayor for the Village of Brewster, Eric Cyprus, Vice Chair of Southeast Republican Committee, Terri Patton Stockburger, Village of Brewster Trustee, Bob Cullen, Southeast Councilman, Edwin Alvarez, Southeast Councilman, Michael Bartolotti, Chairman of Southeast Republicans, Robert Kirkwood, Former New Castle Supervisor Candidate, Gary Murphy, Activist, Judy McGrath, Activist, Robert Castelli, State Assemblyman, Robin Murphy, Activist, Christine Miscioscia, Former Tarrytown Trustee Candidate, Eleanor Miscioscia, Former Tarrytown Trustee Candidate, Philip E. Zegarelli, Former Sleepy Hollow Mayor, Jennifer Lobato-Church, Sleepy Hollow Trustee, George Lence, GOP Donor, Michael Smith, County Legislator, Terence Guerriere, White Plains Republican District Leader, Iris Pagan, Westchester County Women’s Republican Club, Bob Jackson, Former County Legislator, Ed Romaine, Suffolk County Legislator, Chris Talbot, Southold Town Councilman, John Galla, Riverhead GOP Chairman, Denis Noncarrow, Southold GOP Chairman, George Gabrielesen, Riverhead Town Councilman, Jim Wooten, Riverhead Town Councilman, Jesse Garcia, Chairman of Brookhaven GOP, Angelo Lomonte, Long Beach Zoning Board Member, Chris Wendt, Republican Supporter, Frank Scaturro, 4th Distruct Congressional Candidate, David McDonough, State Assemblyman, Gary Hudes, Hempstead Town Councilman, Jogi Giglio, Riverhead Town Councilwoman, Mark Epley, Southampton Village Mayor, William Wright, Southampton Town Republican Committee Chairman, Jane Bonner, Brookhaven Town Councilwoman, Joan Adams Owner of Pierian Consulting, Ari Kirschenbaum, Director of Chabad Prospect Heights & Fort Greene, Juan Reyes, Supporter, Vince Tabone, Supporter, Louis Perrotta III, Supporter, Christopher Allred, Supporter, Scott Russell, Southold Town Supervisor, Robert Creighton, Smithtown Town Councilman, Peter McGreevy, Commodore at Orient Yacht Club, Ralph Ekstrand, Farmingdale Mayor, Dina DeGiorgio, North Hempstead Councilwoman, Dave Franklin, Port Washington Police Commissioner, Thomas J. Kehoe, Northport Village Trustee, Warren Church, Syosset American Legion Commander, Linda Manning-Koziatek, Realtor, Glenn Nocera, President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, Joe Bloecker, East Hampton Town Trustee, Don Derham, Federalist's Society of Long Island, Betty Manzella, Vice Chair of the Brookhaven Republicans, Dan Panico, Town of Brookhaven Councilman.