Gillibrand raises $1.5 million, favorability goes to 60 percent

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Kirsten Gillibrand after her nomination. (Reid Pillifant)
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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand raised $1.5 million in the first quarter, her campaign announced this morning, in an email that also touted her increased favorability numbers in a new Quinnipiac poll.

Gillibrand now has over $9.1 million in cash on hand for her second statewide race, according to the campaign, after ending last year with $8.1 million on hand.

The $1.5 million is slightly less than she raised in previous quarters—she raised $1.9 million in the third quarter last year, and $1.7 million in the fourth quarter—but still puts her in a position to swamp a field of Republican challengers who still remain largely unknown.

Among registered Republicans, 57 percent said they didn't know or didn't have an opinion on who they would support in the Republican primary against Gillibrand, where the candidates will include Representative Bob Turner of Queens and Brooklyn, conservative judicial activist Wendy Long and Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.

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"If a happy campaign is one with a lot of opponents, even happier is one with a lot of anonymous opponents," said pollster Mickey Carroll in the press release. "Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's three opponents, so far, fall short of even the generic GOP vote. But it's seven long months until Election Day."

Turner enjoys a modest lead among those three candidates, with 19 percent support, to 11 percent for Long and 7 for Maragos.

But the lack of name recognition isn't particularly good news for Turner, who entered the race late but figured he'd be able to leverage the attention he got in the media and among Republican donors when he won a special election for Anthony Weiner's seat.

Against Gillibrand, Turner gets 27 percent to the senator's 57 percent, which is roughly equal to her head-to-head against the other candidates. (She beats Long 58 to 25, and beats Maragos 57-23.)

Long's supporters have pushed the idea that she is best equipped to take on Gillibrand in part because she's a woman and can theoretically counteract any talk of a Republican "war on women," but Gillibrand does better among women than any other group, beating Long 64-20.

Gillibrand's overall favorability jumped to 60 percent, her highest ever in the Quinnipiac poll.