[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/19/rudy2.jpg caption="Poll: Giuliani on top in possible 2010 Senate showdown."](CNN) - A new poll of New York state voters indicates Rudy Giuliani leads incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a hypothetical Senate race.
According to a Marist College survey released Thursday afternoon, 54 percent of registered voters in New York support the former New York City mayor for Senate, with four in 10 backing Gillibrand, a Democratic congresswoman from upstate New York who was appointed to fill Hillary Clinton's former Senate seat. Gillibrand is running in 2010 to serve the final two years of Clinton's term.
The poll indicates that Giuliani would top former New York State Gov. George Pataki 71 percent to 24 percent in a hypothetical Republican Senate primary next year. In September, Pataki wouldn't say if he was interested in making a bid for the senate seat held by Gillibrand. Earlier this year, fellow Republican Rep. Peter King officially announced that he would not challenge Gillbrand next year.
According to the poll, Giuliani leads Gillibrand overwhelmingly among registered Republicans, tops her by 14 points among independents, and trails her by 26 points among registered Democrats. The survey indicates that New York City voters are divided between Giuliani and Gillibrand.
The Marist College poll was conducted November 12, 16 and 17, with 805 registered New York state voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
The poll's release comes as a spokeswoman for Giuliani says the former mayor has not made up his mind about running for New York governor next year. Maria Comella was responding to a Thurday New York Times report that quoted unnamed sources saying Giuliani had decided not to run for New York governor in 2010.
There's speculation that if Giuliani decided against a run for governor, he might consider making a bid for the Senate. Top New York Republicans have reportedly urged Giuliani to run for the Senate in 2010.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn