At start of budget season (and a re-election year), governor enjoys high marks from voters

Photo by Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor Andrew Cuomo, accompanied by Rev. Al Sharpton and elected officials, delivers remarks at the National Action Network Dr. Martin Luther King Day Public Policy Forum at the National Action Network House of Justice in Harlem. Cuomo is viewed favorably by 62 percent of registered voters as he enters a re-election year and begins his budget negotiations with the state Legislature.

Andrew Cuomo begins his eighth year as governor — and the annual budget season — with his best favorability rating since the middle of 2014.

A new Siena released Tuesday shows that 62 percent of New York voters have a favorable view of Gov. Cuomo, compared to 30 percent who have an unfavorable view.

The same poll shows that 55 percent of likely voters are prepared to re-elect him as governor this November, compared to 36 percent who prefer “someone else.”

“Election Day is 42 weeks away. Many political lifetimes. Budgets, trials, legislation, ribbon cuttings, natural or other disasters (hopefully not), federal issues, and unforeseen events likely to impact the political landscape. That said, Andrew Cuomo enters a re-election year with his best favorability rating since the last re-election campaign, his best job performance rating in eight months, his best re-elect rating in this cycle, and a potpourri of State of the State proposals that are popular with New York voters,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Cuomo outlined his policy priorities earlier this month at the annual State of the State Address in Albany where he presented plans to pass a progressive agenda this legislative session.

Among his proposals, the most popular is passing the Child Victims Act, which would eliminate the statute of limitations for all sexually-related criminal cases committed against a person less than 18-years old, and extend the statute of limitations for civil litigation. Seventy-six percent of voters support that change while 17 percent oppose it.

Another popular idea is prohibiting public money from being used to settle sexual harassment claims against individuals who work for government agencies. Sixty-six percent of voters support that proposal while 29 percent oppose it.
Cuomo also said he wants to institute early voting in New York, which is supported by 65 percent of voters and pass the New York Dream Act to give children of undocumented immigrants access to college financial aid, which is supported by 60 percent of voters, according to the poll.

Fifty-nine percent of New Yorkers support the idea of making New York´s law on abortion consistent with the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade; Fifty-eight percent of voters support suing the federal government over the loss of the state and local tax deductions in the new tax law; and 57 percent of voters agree with eliminating monetary bail for those facing misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges in the state’s justice system. Finally, 55 percent of New York voters agree with Cuomo’s plan to amend the state Constitution to change the term of state legislators from two to four years and implement term limits for state legislators and statewide office holders to eight years.

“Passing the Child Victims Act, prohibiting public money to settle sexual harassment claims and instituting early voting all have bipartisan support of at least 65 percent,” Greenberg said. “Despite Republican opposition, the Dream Act enjoys the support of 60 percent of New Yorkers, its strongest-ever support in a Siena College poll. Republicans also oppose suing the Federal government over the tax law and eliminating monetary bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, both supported by independents and strongly supported by Democrats.”

When asked which state issues they want the governor to make a priority in 2018, taxes and health care were the top responses from voters, followed by education, infrastructure, jobs, ethics reform in government and criminal justice.

“Taxes and health care have replaced jobs and education as the top two issues they want the Governor to make priorities this year,” Greenberg said. “Taxes is the top issue for Republicans and independents, while health care is the top issue for Democrats. Similarly, health care is the top issue for New York City voters, while taxes tops the list for upstate and downstate suburban voters. Jobs, a perennial top-two issue for the last decade, has fallen to fifth place, behind even infrastructure.”

The Siena poll of 824 registered voters took place between January 7 and January 11. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.