Startling New York's Democratic establishment. a new Quinnipiac poll places Republican gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino a mere six points behind Democrat Andrew Cuomo. For a candidate as strong as Cuomo—and a state as liberal as New York—it's surprising that his lead has diminished so rapidly. Here's what political observers are saying:

  • 'Throw the Bums Out' Mentality Reins, says Quinnipiac's Mickey Caroll: "Attorney General Andrew Cuomo might be a victim of his own excess. Politicians and polls have depicted him so relentlessly as a sure thing that he might be a victim of the 'throw the bums out' attitude that hits incumbents in this angry year."

  • This Is Truly Shocking, writes Nate Silver at The New York Times: "It’s just not very often in a general election campaign that you see a candidate’s lead shrink from about 30 points to 6 in just a month or so. It would not be so unusual in a primary campaign, when voters often make their choices late. But you could spend all day looking at general election polling results and still have trouble coming up with more than a handful of similar examples in recent elections."

  • One Thing to Consider, writes Dan Amira at New York Magazine: "Even though red flashing lights are going off at Cuomo campaign headquarters right now, it's not all bad for the Democrat. For one thing, Quinnipiac, like Rasmussen, did not include Rick Lazio in the poll. Lazio, though he lost the GOP primary to Paladino, had already won the nomination for the Conservative Party, and his name will be on the ballot on its line — that is, unless GOP pressure for him to cede it to Paladino succeeds. Though about as exciting as sandpaper, he would draw tens of thousands of votes from Republicans who look to the Conservative line each year."

  • Pretty Crazy for New York, writes Jonathan Tobin at Commentary: "If Republicans are surging in a state like New York, this midterm election may turn out far worse than imagined for the Democrats and the liberal agenda pursued by President Obama. Demonizing the Tea Party and publicizing opposition research about a loose cannon like Paladino may seem like an effective way to stem the GOP tide, but Democrats must understand that the rules have changed. As the New York polls indicate, voter anger about spending, entitlements, and taxes have transformed 2010 from an ordinary midterm correction to what may turn out to be a Republican tidal wave."

  • Paladino Has Mass Appeal, concedes Salon's Steve Kornacki: "I think the difference between Paladino and, say, O'Donnell is this: Paladino embodies a broader, less ideological frustration and anger with government, while O'Donnell and some of the other Tea Party's stars more embody the kooky, loopy spirit of the movement. They remind people just a little too much of the outrageously attired Tea Party ralliers whose pictures end up on the news. Paladino may be an ogre, but -- at least at first glimpse - what a lot of New Yorkers see is a regular-seeming guy who is as angry as they are and who will give all of the career politicians in Albany nightmares."