Today’s Siena poll of a competitive New York House race focuses on the newly drawn Hudson Valley district of NY-18, where Republican freshman Rep. Nan Hayworth leads her Democratic challenger, Sean Patrick Maloney, 46-33 among likely voters.

The survey found the certified Working Families Party candidate, Larry Weissmann, receiving 10 percent of the vote in the closely divided district, with 11 percent of voters undecided.

UPDATE: Apparently, Weissmann was a placeholder candidate for the WFP until after the Democrats got their primary battle sorted out.

A statement from Maloney’s campaign, which crows that today’s poll shows the Democrat “within striking distance” of Hayworth, includes the following quote from WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor:

“My understanding is that the our judicial delegates plan to nominate Larry Weissman for Supreme Court, in which case the Working Families Party Executive Committee intends to nominate Sean Patrick Maloney as our candidate to take on Tea Party Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.”

As a result, Maloney’s spokeswoman Evangeline George claimed Hayworth’s lead is actually three percentage points, not 13, which assumes all of Weissmann’s votes will go to Maloney – not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

Hayworth is leading with both men (13 percentage points) and women (14 percentage points) and also has a two-to-one edge with independents, despite the Democrats’ repeated efforts to cast her as an extreme Tea Partier who is anti-choice and out of touch with NY-18 residents.

Likely voters rated Hayworth as better than Maloney on six issues by margins of between two and eight points.

Mitt Romney leads President Obama in the district 49-45 – the exact same margin by which voters support both the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and eliminating tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000.

The biggest problem for Maloney, who only recently moved into NY-18 (he has long been a Manhattan resident, and also has a house in Sullivan County), is that he remains largely unknown.

Fifty-four percent of voters said they don’t know enough about Maloney to have an opinion of him. (Weissmann is even less known in the district, with a whopping 81 percent saying they don’t know who he is).

Of those who know who he is, 27 percent have a favorable view of him, while 19 percent view him unfavorably. Hayworth’s favorable/unfavorable rating is 48-37, with 15 percent saying they don’t know enough to have an opinion.

Interestingly, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a 70 percent favorable rating among NY-18 voters. The governor lives on the outskirts of the district (the Westchester County home he shares with Food Network star Sandra Lee is represented by Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey).

Cuomo declined to pick a favorite in the five-way Democratic primary which Maloney won on June 26.

According to yesterday’s Daily News, the governor will be actively campaigning on behalf of a number of Democratic congressional candidates this fall. But the story made no mention of Maloney.

That might have something to do with Maloney’s involvement in the Troopergate scandal (he was in charge of the internal clean-up crew for the Spitzer administration), or perhaps the fact that he worked briefly for Cuomo’s immediate predecessor, former Gov. David Paterson.

Maloney doesn’t focus much on his Spitzer/Paterson administration days, but does talk an awful lot – in speeches, mailers and other campaign lit – about the fact that he worked in the Clinton White House.

CD18 September 2012 Crosstabs