Spectrum News/Siena College Poll: Sheehan firmly in lead for Albany mayor

As Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan runs for a second term, an exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College poll out Monday morning puts her firmly in the lead. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman breaks down the numbers.

Incumbent Mayor Kathy Sheehan is backed by half of Democratic voters a month before she faces a three-way contest for the party's nomination. An exclusive Spectrum News/Siena College poll found Sheehan handily leading her fellow Democrats Carolyn McLaughlin and Frank Commisso, Jr.

“They've got a hill to climb. We have a well-known incumbent mayor who is seen favorable by two-thirds of likely Democratic primary voters. So the two challengers have to make their case,” said Don Levy, a Siena College pollster.

Still better for Sheehan is the poll finding most of the likely Democratic primary voters surveyed have locked in their votes: 46 percent say that are absolutely certain who they will vote for; 39 percent they are unlikely to change to their mind. 

“There isn't a whole lot of room for challengers to shift votes away from her,” Levy said.

McLaughlin trails the pack, drawing 13 percent of the vote. Both McLaughlin and Sheehan; however, draw the same number of black voters. McLaughlin if elected would be the first African-American mayor of Albany.

“There the mayor is actually tied right now at 32 percent each with African-American voters,” said Levey.

And then there are the views voters have of the city itself. Fifty-nine percent say it's on the right track and pluralities of Democratic voters give positive marks for the ability to find a job, law enforcement and improving the city's infrastructure.

“Given that a majority of these voters continue to see the city move in the right direction it will be difficult to convince those voters to change,” Levy said.

Sheehan was first elected in 2013, replacing longtime Mayor Jerry Jennings.

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