A poll by the Siena Research Institute shows New York State residents give Gov. Andrew Cuomo mixed grades.
According to the poll there was slippage in Cuomo’s job performance and generic re-elect ratings.
By a 64-28 percent margin, voters say Cuomo has been an effective governor. However, on seven of eight specific issues, only between 15 and 26 percent of voters said that issue has improved since Cuomo’s been governor, while between 24 and 45 percent of voters said it has gotten worse.
The poll was based on the opinions of 813 registered voters. The poll asked about ensuring equal rights for New Yorkers, New York’s business climate, lessening corruption in state government, state government effectiveness, personal economic well-being, quality of public education, economic well-being of most New Yorkers, and fairness of the state’s tax policy.
A year after the enactment of the SAFE Act, New Yorkers support the law by a two-to-one margin. Sixty-three percent of voters support the SAFE Act, compared to 61 percent one year ago, in March 2013.
“While overall, New Yorkers support the SAFE Act by a two-to-one margin, there are some stark differences based on partisanship and geography. Three-quarters of Democrats and a majority of independents support the law, while a majority of Republicans oppose it. The law is supported by more than three-quarters of New York City voters and almost two-thirds of downstate suburban voters, while a slim majority of upstaters oppose it,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said.
“While a majority of men and white voters support the gun law, even stronger majorities of women, black and Latino voters support it.”
College classes for inmates
“There is a very strong partisan and geographic split on the governor’s proposal to fund college classes for prison inmates. Two-thirds of Democrats support it, while two-thirds of Republicans oppose it, and independents are divided down the middle. More than 70 percent of New York City voters support it, as do a majority of downstate suburbanites, however, two-thirds of upstaters oppose the idea,” Greenberg said.
“A majority of white voters oppose funding college classes for inmates but it enjoys support from three-quarters of Latino voters and more than 80 percent of black voters, as well as two-thirds of Jewish voters,” Greenberg said. “Younger voters strongly support it, while older voters are evenly divided.”
“Although a majority of Democrats supports the Dream Act in New York, a stronger majority of independents opposes it, as do more than 80 percent of Republicans. Similarly, a small majority of New York City voters supports it, a larger majority of downstate suburban voters opposes it and more than two-thirds of upstaters oppose it. A majority of Latino and black voters supports the Dream Act, while white voters oppose it two-to-one,” Greenberg said. “And although it passed the Assembly and narrowly failed in the Senate, support for the Dream Act is actually down from last year when opposition was only nine points higher than support. Now opposition is 17 points higher than support.”
Legislature vs. Legislator
The Assembly has a negative 39-46 percent favorability rating (up slightly from 37-49 percent last month). Voters view their own assembly member favorably 52-23 percent (virtually unchanged from 52-24 percent in May 2013).
The Senate’s favorability rating is negative 39-49 percent (up slightly from 37-51 percent last month), while voters favorably view their own senator 59-26 percent (virtually unchanged from 59-28 percent in May 2013).
“Voters don’t like the Legislature but they do like their own legislators. And while there is a clear difference in the partisan leadership of each house, that difference does not materialize in the way each house is viewed. Democrats have a slightly favorable view of both the Senate and the Assembly, while Republicans and independents have a decidedly more unfavorable view of both houses,” Greenberg said. “By a narrow 41-36 percent margin, voters say they are prepared to re-elect their assembly member and by a wider 48-36 percent margin they say they are prepared to re-elect their senator.”
State vs. country
By a 46-43 percent margin, voters say New York is on the right track, compared to headed in the wrong direction (down from 48-40 percent last month). The United States is headed in the wrong direction 57-36 percent (up from 55-39 percent last month).
“A majority of Democrats and city voters, as well as a plurality of downstate suburban voters say the state is on the right track. However, a majority of Republicans and upstaters and a plurality of independents don’t like the direction the state is headed in,” Greenberg said. “When it comes to the direction of the country, a bare majority of Democrats say it’s headed on the right track, while a majority of independents and more than 80 percent of Republicans say the country is headed in the wrong direction.”
Education funding advocates rallied in Albany March 24, making a last minute effort for extended funding for schools in the state budget.
While local schools struggle to pass budgets, Cuomo argues that New York spends more on education than any other state, with disappointing results, and that simply spending more money is not the answer.
Advocates claim that number is skewed and the real number to examine is not how much New York spends, but how the funds are distributed.
One advocate claimed a school district on Long Island gets $18,000 more funding per student than one located upstate.
A wide range of groups are urging state lawmakers to put more money for schools in the budget. Cuomo has proposed increasing school aid by $800 million in the new state budget. Lawmakers have requested a few hundred million more. Advocates say the amount of the increase should be closer to $2 billion.
In a statement, Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi said, “The governor’s priority is providing education funding based on the number of students it helps, not growing the education bureaucracy to serve the demands of the special interests. It makes no sense to provide more funding to school districts that now have fewer students based on a budget from six years ago.”
Azzopardi adds that the governor has also proposed a $2 billion education bond act to build more classrooms.
The survey by Siena College finds only 15 percent think the quality of education has improved under Cuomo, 41 percent think it’s gotten worse, and 38 percent say it’s unchanged.