Poll finds voters weary of Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers his 2019 State of the State address and proposed 2019-20 Executive Budget presentation in January in Albany. (Photo provided by the governor’s office)

ALBANY — Less than a year after he was elected to a third term as New York’s chief executive, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has hit a rut, with nearly two-thirds of voters giving him a negative job performance rating, a Siena College poll has found.

The survey found 64% of respondents reported that Cuomo is doing a poor or fair job as governor, while just 34% said he is doing a good or excellent job.

Upstate troubles

Cuomo’s job performance rating, along with his favorable rating — 43% — are the lowest scores he has had on those two measures, matching his all-time low in February, Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said.

Cuomo got his highest approval ratings in the heavily Democratic New York City region.

But in the suburbs — usually considered swing regions with many independents, where voting trends can help decide statewide elections — just 37% approve of his performance, Siena reported.

It got worse for Cuomo in the upstate region, where his job performance rating was pegged at 31%.

“Since June, his favorability rating has fallen double digits with Democrats, Republicans, independents and voters from every region of the state,” Siena Poll spokesman Steven Greenberg said.

Voter fatigue

The governor’s low ratings came even as the same survey found New Yorkers, by a 51-39% margin, said Cuomo has made New York a better place in his nearly nine years at the helm of state government.

The poll points to “voter fatigue” with Cuomo, who has won three terms as governor and had one term as state attorney general, said veteran New York political strategist George Arzt.

“What this says to me is he is really not getting his message out on his own accomplishments, and there really needs to be a better narrative coming from the second floor (of the statehouse, where Cuomo has his office),” said Arzt.

No challengers

But Arzt suggested Cuomo, who plans to seek a fourth term in 2022, is in good position to weather the dip in his poll numbers as “there isn’t anyone on the horizon who poses a threat to him.”

Cuomo also hasn’t benefited from his recent strategy of choosing public radio stations as forums for interviews, Arzt said. “He needs to go into communities, and go into black churches and walk in towns and go down to business districts and have people touch him,” he said. “You can’t manage the press by press release.”

State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy, reacting to the survey, suggested Cuomo now finds himself on “life support” due to his administration’s “rampant corruption, incompetence and mismanagement.”

Cuomo’s office offered no comment on the survey results.

License controversy

Siena found that one of the centerpiece measures approved in the 2019 legislative session, the new law allowing undocumented immigrants to qualify for driver’s licenses in New York, remains unpopular with voters. Just 43% of respondents said they favor the law, while 53% registered opposition to it.

Cuomo was among the advocates.

Another new law — the one allowing farm workers to join unions and get overtime pay for working long hours — drew the support of 78% of those who answered the survey of 810 registered voters. The survey was conducted July 28 through August 1.

The same poll showed New Yorkers giving President Donald Trump, a native New Yorker, a negative job performance rating — 34-66%, though that was an improvement from the 29-70% numbers he drew from the same survey in June.

The survey suggested that the most popular New York politician at the moment is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York). His favorable rating was put at 53%, while Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), now a candidate for the presidency, scored a 41% favorable rating.

Trump has a negative 35-62% favorability rating, up a tick from 34-63% in June. His job performance rating is 34-66%, up from 29-70% in June.

Joe Mahoney covers the New York statehouse for CNHI newspapers, including the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh.


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