Marist: Rudy Leads Gillibrand, Trails Cuomo

Over the last few days, speculation concerning Rudy Giuliani’s plans for 2010 has run rampant.  I have seen stories variously claiming with certainty that Rudy will run for governor, that he won’t run for governor, that he hasn’t decided whether to run for governor, that he will run for Senate, and that he hasn’t decided anything yet.  Provided that Rudy hasn’t already made up his mind and is just being coy with everyone, this poll released today from Marist (.pdf) may perhaps be informing his thinking. 

It indicates, among other things, that Rudy would plaster current sitting governor David Paterson.  However, Paterson is pretty much a dead man walking at this point, and the general assumption is that Andrew Cuomo will get the D nomination.  Against, Cuomo, Rudy currently trails by 10, 53-43.  Both men are relatively widely-known quantities in New York, so it’s difficult to imagine a radical shift in either’s favor. 

On the other hand, Rudy’s path to the Senate appears substantially easier.  First, the Marist poll indicates he would easily win a hypothetical primary against Pataki (71-24), and that he holds a substantial lead (54-40) over Gillibrand. This would seem to indicate that if Rudy enters this race, it would promptly become one of the GOP’s best pickup opportunities in 2010, perhaps better than NV, AR, CT or DE. 

In talking to several New Yorkers, most of them would prefer to see Rudy run for the Governor’s mansion, where his talents would be put to a more direct use.  However, as a matter of pure political calculus, Rudy can doubtless see where the easiest path back to elective office lies. And if he has designs on a run for 2012 or beyond, the Senate might be the best place for him to mend fences with the portions of the national GOP electorate that cost him the 2008 primary, as well.