One poll has Gillibrand with only a one point lead. Downstate liberals distrust and look down on this Upstate-living former "moderate" Congresswoman. Furthermore, Upstaters don't like her hard-left new persona and are tired of the Democrats wrecking the state. So it looks like there's a weakness. But RCP points out:
Let's be clear up front: A straight-up Republican win would be unheard of. No Democratic senator has ever been defeated for re-election in the Empire State, and the last time a non-Democrat won an open seat in New York in a two-way race was in 1958. The typical formula for a non-Democratic win in New York is to have a Republican running on the Liberal Party line who splits the anti-Republican vote with the Democrat; this is in part how Alfonse D'Amato and James Buckley won their Senate races. This won't happen this year - there isn't even an independent Liberal Party in New York anymore.
But it appears that she is trailing big time in Upstate, which has far fewer people than Downstate. However, if enought Downstaters either don't turn out or do not pull the ballot for her she is at least theoretically vulnerable. He'd have to win at least 30% in New York City according to the article to stand a chance-- which it says is possible:
For DioGuardi to equal Pataki's 2002 vote share in New York City, two things have to happen. First, whites have to be excited about voting for him. I think that's possible for two reasons: (1) whites who didn't live on Manhattan were never crazy about Obama in the first place and are presumably ready to cast a protest vote against him today and (2) DioGuardi has an Italian surname. Having attended more than my share of the DiFranco family reunions on the maternal side of my family, I can only attest that the cultural affinity is still pretty important in the Italian-American community. This will help DioGuardi in parts of Queens and in South Brooklyn (and in Staten Island, a notable Republican bastion that is off the map). In fact, this is probably a large reason why DioGuardi is getting 35 percent in the SurveyUSA poll while the other Republican candidates polled are receiving the 25 percent a Republican customarily receives (remember, Paladino is running against a Cuomo).
The article says a DioGuardi win is unlikely. I agree. But it certainly isn't impossible.
Cross posted at Pundit Press.