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Calling Pataki...

From NBC's Harry Enten

Appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) continues to be locked in a tight fight for re-election in 2010 -- and new polling shows she's have a difficult time with Republican former Gov. George Pataki.

National Republicans are hoping that Pataki will run, but he has given no indication he will seek the seat.

According to a the latest Siena College poll, Gillibrand and Pataki are tied 43%-43%, which is basically unchanged from last month's 41%-41%. More troubling for Gillibrand is that 39% of voters prefer to vote for somebody else, while only 27% say they would vote to re-elect her.

She continues to suffer from a lack of name recognition with 46% of New York voters having no opinion of the junior senator. Of the voters that do hold an opinion of her, 33% view her favorably, while 21% view her unfavorably.

Pataki is experiencing his highest approval ratings since March of 2006. New Yorkers view him favorably by a 53%-36% margin.

"The election is well over a year away, and with the Democratic field for Sen. Gillibrand becoming clearer by the day, focus on the general election increases," Steven Greenberg, the poll's spokesman, said in a release. "Republican Pataki has won statewide in a state with an overwhelming Democratic enrollment advantage three times. Currently he's polling support from one-third of Democrats, and it seems it would be a nail biter if he decides to challenge Gillibrand."

Sen. Charles Schumer appears to be a lock for re-election in 2010 with 61% of voters saying they want to re-elect him.