ALBANY, N.Y. — Cynthia Nixon is struggling to close a large gap between her and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York's Democratic primary race, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Cuomo's lead over Nixon was 35 percentage points in the new Siena College poll, with 61 percent of Democratic voters backing Cuomo and 26 percent backing Nixon.
Nixon, the "Sex and the City" star and longtime education activist, is squaring off in a September primary with Cuomo, who is seeking a third, four-year term.
The Siena poll — which was based on a sample of likely voters in November, not September primary — showed Nixon struggling to reach voters in the New York City suburbs, including the Lower Hudson Valley, a traditional battleground in New York.
Cuomo had a 76 percent to 13 percent lead over Nixon in the suburbs, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties as well as Long Island, according to Siena.
"Nixon has a lot of catching up to do to make this race competitive," Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said in a statement. "Cuomo is well known and well liked by New York Democrats."
Cuomo has had a large lead over Nixon since she jumped into the race in March.
A Siena poll that month — taken just before Nixon jumped into the race — showed Cuomo with a 66 percent to 19 percent lead over Nixon among Democratic voters.
Nixon cut the lead to 31 percentage points in April, when Siena showed Cuomo with support from 58 percent of Democratic voters and Nixon garnering 27 percent.
Cuomo's lead increased in Wednesday's poll, though the comparison isn't exact.
Siena's March and April polls were based on a random sampling of registered Democratic voters. The poll Wednesday was of registered Democratic voters likely to vote in the November general election.
New York's state-level primary is Sept. 13. There is a separate federal primary on June 26.
Cuomo's campaign reveled in the poll, taking to Twitter to tout the governor's large lead.
"Ignore the early reviews: @cynthianixon's campaign is looking increasingly like 'Sex and the City 2'," Cuomo campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith tweeted.
Nixon's campaign, meanwhile, pointed to the 44 percent of likely voters polled who said they had an unfavorable view of Cuomo, matching his highest unfavorable rating in the Siena poll.
Fifty-one percent of voters said they have a favorable view of Cuomo, while 31 percent said they have a favorable view of Nixon, 31 percent had an unfavorable view and 38 percent didn't know or had no opinion.
“The Governor’s team pulled out every trick in the book to try to improve his numbers,” Nixon campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said in a statement. “But, despite their efforts, the Governor’s unfavorability remains the highest it's ever been, and Cynthia’s favorability dramatically increased among Democrats, liberals and young voters."
The winner of the Democratic primary will face Republican Marc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, in the November election.
Both Nixon and Cuomo came out ahead of Molinaro in Wednesday's poll, according to Siena.
Cuomo had a 56 percent to 37 percent lead when matched up with Molinaro, down from 57 percent to 31 percent last month.
Nixon, meanwhile, had a 46 percent to 35 percent lead over Molinaro, according to the poll.
In a statement, Molinaro campaign spokeswoman Katherine Delgado noted the corruption trial of former SUNY Polytechnic Institute President Alain Kaloyeros, who led some of the Cuomo administration's top economic-development projects, is scheduled to begin soon.
"On the eve of yet another explosive corruption trial, we are extremely encouraged by today's Siena Poll putting us at 37 percent against Governor Andrew Cuomo — 16 points higher than the Republican candidate for governor stood in June 2014," Delgado said.
Siena polled 745 likely New York voters from June 4 through 7, according to the poll, which had an overall margin of error of 3.6 percentage points. The Democratic primary questions had a margin of error of 5.3 percent.
Follow Jon Campbell on Twitter: @CampbellGAN