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Marist College Poll: Kathy Hochul Off To Fast Start In New York Gubernatorial Race

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- She has only been governor for two months, but already Kathy Hochul is winning over the hearts and minds of New Yorkers.

A new -- and very early -- poll has her the favorite to win re-election, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

You have to file this under the heading she must be doing something right.

But the big and as yet unanswered question is whether the early poll numbers will keep the army of gubernatorial wannabes from even entering the race.

"It is fair to say that she is entering election season as the early front-runner," Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff said.

Miringoff's first poll of the gubernatorial election season has Gov. Hochul with a surprisingly solid head start, especially considering that she comes from upstate and the majority of Democratic voters are in the downstate area.

A hypothetical matchup gives Hochul 44%, Attorney General Letitia James 28%, Jumaane Williams 15%, and 13% of voters are unsure.

"She clearly has established, you know, herself with Democrats as governor statewide. The notion that she's not well known and views of that sort don't hold up in the numbers," Miringoff said.

Clearly, it's early. The election is 13 months away, in November 2022. The Democrats don't meet to pick a nominee until February and the primary is in June. And despite the fact that state Party Chairman Jay Jacobs has asked other Democrats to stand down, anything can happen.

And other people could enter the race.

Bill de Blasio, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Nassau County Congressman Tom Suozzi are all considering a run for the statehouse.

And then there is also the Andrew Cuomo factor.

Stunningly, while 77% say they don't want Cuomo to run again, he still places third when his name is added to the mix.

The new numbers give Hochul 36%, James 24%, Cuomo 19%, Williams 9%, and 12% unsure.

Miringoff said Cuomo could easily use a, "divide and conquer strategy where he tries to push James to the left, Hochul to the right and claim the middle."

A spokesman for Cuomo refused to comment. CBS2 is waiting statements from James and Hochul.

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