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The litmus test

We all know we're supposed to care about what's best for everyone. But sometimes, for some of us, there's a single issue that dwarfs the rest --- an issue that can make the difference when we're making up our minds between two similar candidates.

Here's where Tom Suozzi and Eliot Spitzer stand on a handful of hot-button issues that matter to New York, gleaned from interviews, press conferences, the single Suozzi and Spitzer debate, and the candidates' websites.

The death penalty:

Suozzi: "I'm opposed to it in all circumstances."

Spitzer: favors it in cases involving terrorism or the death of a police officer.

State funding for stem-cell research:

Suozzi: "Right now the state has other priorities; I don't think it can afford to invest in that."

Spitzer: Supports.

Medical marijuana:

Suozzi: "I'm okay with that."

Spitzer: Opposes.

Same sex marriage:

Suozzi: "I'm opposed to same-sex marriage, but I'm in favor of giving more legal and economic benefits to same sex couples."

Spitzer: "Same-sex marriage should be legal."

Abortion rights:

Suozzi: "I'm a hundred percent committed to abortion remaining safe and legal, but we need to work to make it more rare."

Spitzer: Pro-choice (and he received NARAL's endorsement).