- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2000

With the heft of new polling results and overwhelming financial support, New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani appears on his way to controlling the upstate vote in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

A Colgate University/Zogby International poll released yesterday finds first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton trails Mr. Giuliani among upstate New York voters by 14 percentage points in the race. The poll has a 3.2 percent margin of error.

Fifty-two percent of those polled said they would vote for Mr. Giuliani, although the first lady leads slightly in the state's cities, pollster John Zogby said.

"Mr. Giuliani is right where he needs to be right now," Mr. Zogby said. "But Hillary is campaigning vigorously in those cities, where 40 percent of the vote is."

Clinton campaign officials could not be reached to comment on the newest poll.

Despite his comparably low profile upstate, a breakdown of individual contributions through December found that Mr. Giuliani overwhelmingly outdrew the first lady in individual contributions in three of the state's four largest cities outside New York City.

In Rochester, he received $53,400 in donations, compared to $1,050 for Mrs. Clinton. In Buffalo, it was Mr. Giuliani $26,700, Mrs. Clinton $5,000.

Mr. Giuliani pulled in $61,450 in Albany, compared to Mrs. Clinton's $3,200.

In the college town of Syracuse, though, Mrs. Clinton took in $65,178 in contrast to the mayor's $2,700.

"Overall, it's never surprising when a Republican has raised more money than a Democrat," said Larry Makinson, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, "but it can show you which way things can go."

The funding numbers reflect the business community's tendencies more than those of the overall voting bloc, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson noted.

"It provides some indication," he said, "but there are many more voters than there are individuals who give money to campaigns."

The tireless Clinton campaign has crossed the state repeatedly in the past six months, hoping to change the mayor's sway in a territory that has a growing number of Republican supporters.

Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Clinton spoke at a health center in White Plains, then later at Alfred University, south of Rochester.

Today, Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to make stops in Strykersville and Salamanca before participating in tonight's "town hall meeting" at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Mr. Giuliani has been criticized for his few visits to the region. As the mayor of New York City, though, he has had to make a choice, said campaign manager Bruce Teitelbaum.

"Mrs. Clinton, respectfully, does not have a job and is able to campaign seven [days] and 24 [hours]," Mr. Teitelbaum said. "We're balancing the mayor's primary responsibility as mayor of New York with his need to campaign around the state."

Pollsters and pundits predict that the race will be the most expensive Senate contest in the nation's history. The two already have hauled in more than $32 million in donations on the way to shattering the $43 million record set by the Dianne Feinstein-Michael Huffington race for a Senate seat from California in 1994.

Since the two began raising money for the race last year, Mr. Giuliani has collected $19.3 million, while the first lady has raised $12.8 million.

Despite the lopsided upstate contribution numbers in Mr. Giuliani's favor, the bottom line is that voters upstate have decided, Mr. Zogby pointed out.

"Ninety percent of those voters have their minds made up," the pollster said. "What can decide this race is the swing vote or a mistake, like the [Patrick] Dorismond [shooting] affair. He needs to be up there to court the swing vote."

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