Gay rights groups cheered last year when New York Senator Charles Schumer announced his opinion on gay and lesbian unions had changed. He said he now supports gay marriage and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies.

The endorsement came two months after New York Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand offered hers.

A new poll released Friday shows voters are likely to return both Democrats to Washington.

The poll of likely voters by Quinnipiac University shows Gillibrand holds a 21-point lead over her rival, former U.S. Representative Joseph DioGuardi, while Schumer leads Republican businessman Jay Townsend by more than 30 points.

“If Republicans are going to take back the U.S. Senate, it doesn't look as if New York will be much help,” the survey's authors said in a statement.

Previous to last year, Schumer had supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Gillibrand, who was appointed by Governor David Paterson to replace outgoing Senator Hillary Clinton after she was appointed by President Obama to head the State Department, announced her support for marriage equality at a press conference announcing her appointment.

In 2008, neither Schumer nor Clinton backed gay marriage.

As Vice Chair of the U.S. Senate's Democratic Conference, Schumer is the highest ranking member of the Senate to endorse marriage for gay couples.

Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic state attorney general who is running for governor, holds an 18-point lead over Republican Carl Paladino, a Tea Party favorite, the Quinnipiac poll showed. Cuomo has pledged to sign a gay marriage bill into law.

New York lawmakers are expected to reconsider legalizing gay marriage in the state next year. Last year, senators killed a measure that would have legalized the institution. Gay marriage advocates have targeted for ouster senators who voted against the measure.