When GOP candidate Carl Paladino won the nomination just a week ago,  it was big news because he had beaten the establishment party candidate Rick Lazio, but honestly no body gave him much of a chance against Democratic Party Candidate, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat started with three big pluses,  New York is a very blue state, Cuomo has high name recognition and Cuomo’s father was a relatively popular NY State Governor for twelve years. Indeed the last poll taken by  Quinnipiac University before the primary (9/1) Cuomo lead Carl Paladino by 37%  (60 – 23%).

Today’s Qunnipiac poll shows Paladino making up 31 of that 37% gap, he now trails Cuomo by only 6% (49-43%) of likely voters. Keep in mind previous Qunnipiac studies have measured all registered voters, this latest poll measures likely voters

Only 18 percent of New York State likely voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, but they back Paladino 77 – 18 percent.

Cuomo leads 87 – 8 percent among Democrats while Paladino leads 83 – 13 percent among Republicans and 49 – 43 percent among independent voters, the independent Quinnipiac  University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds.

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Women back Cuomo 54 – 34 percent, while men go 49 percent for Paladino and 46 percent for Cuomo.

Seven percent of voters remain undecided and 21 percent of those who name a candidate say they might still change their mind.

New York State likely voters approve 67 – 25 percent of the job Cuomo is doing as Attorney General and by 51 – 34 percent, they have a favorable opinion of him.

At 36% Paladino’s favoriblity numbers are slightly more favorable than his negatives (31%) but the big opportunity for the GOP candidate (and for Cuomo) is 31 percent of voters don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Which means each side will race to educate the public about the GOP candidate.

“The question was whether Carl Paladino would get a bounce from his big Republican primary victory. The answer is yes. He’s within shouting distance and – you can count on it – he will be shouting,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Attorney General Andrew Cuomo might be a victim of his own excess. Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the ‘throw the bums out’ attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year,” Carroll added.

Many of the properties that gave Cuomo his initial advantage also may hurt him, he is seen as the ultimate insider, and Paladino who promises to go to Albany with a baseball bat to “knock heads” is seen as the ultimate outsider.  The next five weeks in NY should be very interesting.