(CNN) - A new poll of New York State voters suggests it could be "game on" in the battle for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's seat.
A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday indicates Gillibrand trails Rep. Carolyn Maloney in a hypothetical Democratic primary match-up next year, with 27 percent of those questioned supporting Maloney and 23 percent backing Gillibrand. Forty-four percent are undecided.
Gillibrand is a former congresswoman from upstate New York who was named by Gov. David Paterson in January to succeed Sen. Hillary Clinton, who stepped down from her senate seat to become Secretary of State.
Maloney, a liberal congresswoman from New York City, is seriously considering a Democratic primary challenge to Gillibrand. Maloney could find success in labeling Gillibrand as too moderate to conservative for New York State Democratic primary voters.
The poll suggests that both Gillibrand and Maloney hold double digit leads over possible Republican contender Rep. Peter King in hypothetical 2010 general election matchups, with around three in ten voters undecided.
Who ever wins next year's election will serve out the remaining two years of Clinton's term and would face re-election in 2012.
"The New York cliché, that a liberal wins a Democratic primary, looks like it holds true in this poll. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a city liberal, edges Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, an upstate moderate, but almost half are undecided," says Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. They each beat Congressman Peter King, a Long Island Republican, by about the same."
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted June 16-21, with 2,477 New York State registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus two percentage points.