The race between state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and former City Councilman Tony Avella is not as tight as some may expect, according to a Siena College poll that showed Padavan with a 24-point lead over Avella.
The poll of 409 likely voters in Senate District 11 found 56 percent of voters choosing Padavan compared to 32 percent for Avella with 12 percent undecided.
In a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 3-to-1, the poll found the race a dead heat among Democrats — 46 percent for Avella compared to 44 percent for Padavan.
“Sen. Padavan can take nothing for granted in this district that has an overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage — however, he appears to be in a very strong position with voters,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. “He is more well-known and viewed far more favorably than is Avella and voters think he is better on every issue.”
Avella, a Democrat, took 16 percent of Republicans in the poll while Padavan had support of 75 percent of Republicans polled.
Padavan had a wide lead among independents: 65 percent to 17 percent with 19 percent undecided.
Those polled were asked who they thought was the better candidate on 10 issues ranging from the state budget to crime to taxes — and Padavan came out on top in each category.
Avella, a maverick who earlier told TimesLedger Newspapers that politics was “disgusting,” was 14 percentage points behind Padavan on the issue of government ethics reform.
Roughly half of those polled believed Padavan was better on the issue of reform compared to 33 percent for Avella.
Almost three-quarters — 71 percent — said they had a favorable opinion of Padavan, with 17 percent having an unfavorable view of the senator. Another 13 percent either did not know of Padavan or had no opinion about him.
As for Avella, 40 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of him compared to 21 percent unfavorable and another 39 percent who either did not know him or had no opinion.
The poll also showed the Tea Party movement was not popular in the district.
About half of those polled had an unfavorable view of the Tea Party, compared to 34 percent who had a favorable view and 17 percent who never heard of the Tea Party or do not have an opinion of it.
The district’s voters were split on whether they wanted Democrats to increase their two-seat majority in the Senate or for the GOP to gain control of the chamber.
About one-third of those polled said they wanted a larger majority for Democrats compared to 31 percent who said they wanted Republicans in power and another 30 percent who said they preferred the Senate to be “closely divided.”
The poll was taken between Sept. 20 and 23 and has a margin of error of 4.8 percent.
Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz
©2010 Community News Group
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