Take this one with all the usual caveats - the election is far away, who knows if this is a good sample, Gillibrand has months to improve her name ID, etc. Still, Carolyn Maloney has the ability to raise lots of money and there is no doubt that her views are more in line with the extreme leftist views of New York Democrat primary voters. Given those facts, Gillibrand ought to be extremely concerned that she already trails Maloney in a trial heat for the 2010 Senate nomination:
The 2010 Democratic primary for U.S. Senator remains in play as 27 percent back U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney and 23 percent back U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, with 4 percent for Jonathan Tasini and 44 percent undecided...
Voters know little about the possible Senate candidates: 63 percent don't know enough about Gillibrand to form an opinion; 67 percent don't know enough about Maloney and 66 percent don't know enough about King.
"The New York clich‚,[sic] that a liberal wins a Democratic primary, looks like it holds true in this poll. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a city liberal, edges Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an upstate moderate, but almost half are undecided. They each beat Congressman Peter King, a Long Island Republican, by about the same," Carroll said.
Ordinarily, a Republican has only a small chance of winning a statewide race in New York. A hotly-contested Democratic primary improves the chances considerably. All indications are that Maloney intends to run. Peter King and George Pataki - both of whom are apparently considering the race - are probably hoping that the more extreme Maloney wins an extremely tough primary, and enters the general election with no money to speak of.
And if Republicans can get just one legitimate candidate to run - rather than having a fiercely-fought primary of their own - that would be good, too.