Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D) approval rating is at its highest point since she became a Senator.
Nearly half of the New Yorkers surveyed, 49 percent, said that the Empire State’s junior Senator is doing a good or excellent job, according to polling released by Marist College late Friday. Another 29 percent of registered voters gave Gillibrand fair marks, while 10 percent said she is doing poorly and 12 percent had no opinion.
“This is the first time since being appointed to the U.S. Senate by former Gov. David Paterson that Sen. Gillibrand has established herself with New York voters in terms of her job performance,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Voters see Gillibrand in a different light.”
A former Congresswoman, Gillibrand was originally appointed in 2009 to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. While she won her November special election bid to finish that term, she faces another contest to win a full term in 2012.
Roll Call Politics rates her 2012 race as Safe Democratic.
Marist surveyed 751 registered voters Jan. 24-26, and the poll had a 4-point margin of error. The results were a marked improvement for Gillibrand, who earned excellent or good ratings from 36 percent of respondents in late October. The improvement, according to Marist, comes largely from within the Democratic base. Just 45 percent of Democrats approved of her job performance in October, compared with 61 percent this time. Her marks with unaffiliated voters also improved — from 28 percent to 40 percent.
It may be worth noting that Gillibrand played a relatively high-profile role in at least two successful efforts during December’s lame-duck session. She and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) were the leading advocates for the successful repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gays in the military. And the New York delegation also fought to pass a bill providing health coverage to those who responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
And while Gillibrand’s numbers are up, so are the president’s. President Barack Obama’s approval rating in the new Marist poll was 53 percent, compared with 45 percent at the end of October.