The following is part of an article by pollster Scott Rasmussen written in the New York Daily News:
“The Tea Party movement, which propelled (Carl) Paladino’s primary victory, is real and vastly underrated as an electoral force. That’s just as true in New York as it is around the country. And the Tea Party effort that won Paladino the nomination was much less about him than it was a rejection of the status quo.
It’s true that the Empire State is deep blue politically, and that only 16% of New York voters consider themselves members of the Tea Party movement.
Two-thirds (68%) of the state’s voters say that it would be better for the state to have most incumbent state legislators voted out of office; that means we can expect some surprises in November.
Roughly half (52%) of New York voters say that neither the Democratic nor the Republican party leaders have a good understanding of what is needed today.
Just 27% say their own representative in Congress is the best possible person for the job. And only 28% of voters in the Empire State feel that most members of Congress care what their constituents think.
An overwhelming 70% of New York voters believe that the primary purpose of Town Hall meetings is for members of Congress to listen rather than speak.
These figures make it clear why Paladino’s overwhelming victory in the primary against former Congressman Rick Lazio should not be considered too much of a surprise.
It’s the same “Mad as Hell” response we’ve seen all across the country. (Yes, that’s a plug for my new book about the Tea Party movement, penned with Doug Schoen). While the political elites have dismissed the movement, several Tea Party candidates are poised to enter the U.S. Senate next year.
Paladino has fashioned his campaign around the movement’s core themes of anger, reform and anti-incumbency. He rails against government excess and literally says he is “mad as hell.”
Those themes will tap into a well of anger and frustration that is built on, but goes well beyond, what the Tea Party stands for.
Another potential plus for Paladino is that prominent members of the New York political establishment from both parties, such as Ed Koch, Carl McCall and Alphonse D’Amato, have come together to call him unfit and unqualified for office. They wrote an open letter claiming that “anger overcame reason and enabled a fringe element to choose the Republican nominee. The end result was the selection of Mr. Paladino, a divisive figure simply not fit to lead this great state.”
Yet, the political establishment in New York – Democrat and Republican alike – as an institution has been sufficiently discredited that such efforts to denounce Paladino from all sides could very well help enhance his appeal to an already angry and frustrated electorate.
Wake up and smell the tea. The fact that he is not tied to current policies and politicians is one of Paladino’s greatest assets. The very things that have made Paladino radioactive with the political class – his attacks on political elites like Sheldon Silver, Pataki and D’Amato, and his impolitic statements on a wide range of subjects – could well be appealing to voters at large, demonstrating his willingness to say what he believes no matter what the political consequence is.
Moreover, there is a broad-based desire in New York to elect candidates who are fiscally prudent and not tied to current policies.
If Americans are broadly concerned about taxes, spending and borrowing, New Yorkers — who have one of the highest state and local tax burdens, and who send far more to Washington than they get back — have reason to be especially concerned.
And if Americans are widely frustrated with what they see as government’s unresponsiveness to their problems, New York — with a famously dysfunctional and out-of-touch legislature — is in some ways the poster child for this problem.
So rather than being surprised that the Tea Party is reaching into the Northeast, we might wonder why it has taken so long to get here in force.
Paladino’s call to cut taxes by 10% in the first six months of his administration and to cut spending and the size of government by 20% in his first year sound extreme to the elites. The reality of imposing such cuts is uncertain. But one thing’s for sure: The desire for them is consistent with the mood of many voters.
This is not to say that Paladino will win the election. The odds are heavily against that and the candidate brings some of his own baggage to the table. But his self-funded campaign is almost certain to provide some awkward moments for Cuomo. After all, Cuomo is a quintessential political insider in a year when political experience of any type is more of a negative than a positive. The awkward moments will be a reflection of the widespread political mood rather than an expression of support for Paladino.
And, even if he falls short in November, the forces that helped Paladino win the Republican nomination could produce some other surprises across the state, and around the country, on Nov. 2. Stay tuned.”
Comment: I have seen a few video clips of Mr. Paladino. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about the man’s intentions and beliefs…….or having anything but a very stern and serious mode when presenting them.