A poll conducted by the New York Unity PAC, a political action committee funded by in part by wealthy Republicans who support same-sex marriage legalization, found that Sen. Roy McDonald would be in a favorable position to retain his seat should he continue on through the general election.

McDonald, R-Saratoga, has apparently lost the Republican line to Kathy Marchione, but retains the Independence Party line.

While he is coming under pressure from fellow Republicans to fall in line, Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote him in a letter released Wednesday that the popular Democratic governor would support him if he continued his campaign. Gay rights groups, similarly, have publicly said McDonald would have their support if he went forward.

The PAC’s poll, released this morning, found that McDonald overall remains more or less a popular figure in the district and has a 54 percent approval rating. The survey also shows that Marchione, while well known, remains controversial: 30 percent say they have a favorable impression of her, compared to 29 percent who do not.

With McDonald running solely on the Independence ballot line, he receives 45 percent of the vote, compared to 28 percent of the vote for Marchione, who would have the GOP and Conservative Party lines. Democrat Robin Andrews would have 18 percent of the vote.

“Not only did Mark Grisanti and Steve Saland win their primaries, but Senator McDonald is also well-positioned to win in November,” said Jeff Cook, Senior Advisor to New York Unity PAC. “New York Unity PAC is fully committed to making the independent expenditure investments necessary to ensure all three Republicans are victorious.”

Cook is Liz’s guest on Capital Tonight this evening.

McDonald’s campaign has said the lawmaker will determine whether he’ll stay in the race later this week or early next week.

Sen. Stephen Saland, another Republican who backed the measure in 2011, narrowly won his Republican primary over Neil Di Carlo. Sen. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, easily won his contest over Kevin Stocker.

Both lawmakers face a three-way general election this fall.

Sen. James Alesi, the fourth Senate Republican to back the bill, is not running for re-election. He contributed to the campaigns of Saland, Grisanti and McDonald.

The New York Unity PAC was formed earlier this year, with former Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman writing a $25,000 check. The group has also received contributions from hedge-fund founder Paul Singer, who gave $150,000.

Campaign finance records show the group has spent more than $210,000 in the last month on TV ads, polls and mailers in state races.

Crosstabs McDonald 2012-09-21