Cuomo’s ethical standing among voters remains intact

May 12, 2016--New York City -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo receives the Champion for Working Families and Children Award from the Paid Family Leave Coalition during a victory celebration held at Colors Restaurant in Lower Manhattan Thursday night May 12, 2016. The dinner was held to celebrate the passage of 12 weeks of paid leave for all New Yorkers for family emergencies. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)


Though NY’ers are pessimistic, there is a near-unanimous call for passing anti-corruption bills this session


Even though 96 percent of New Yok voters say passing anti-corruption laws is an important end-of-session task for the Legislature, only 31 percent believe it will actually happen, according to a Siena College poll released Tuesday.

Forty percent of the respondents say corruption is a more serious problem in the Legislature, while 31 percent say it’s a more serious problem in the executive branch.

“Overwhelmingly, voters from every region and party continue to be pessimistic that any significant anti-corruption legislation will be passed before the Legislature ends session in a few weeks,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.

And while recent news stories have highlighted corruption investigations surrounding individuals close to the governor and programs under the control of the executive branch of government, voters’ views of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job performance and how they feel about him have barely moved in the last four weeks, according to Greenberg.

“By a strong two-to-one margin, voters say Cuomo is an ethical public official, a view overwhelmingly held by Democrats, independents and downstaters.  A strong majority of upstaters agrees as well. Even Republicans — who overwhelmingly view Cuomo unfavorably and give him a strongly negative job performance rating — are evenly divided on whether Cuomo is or is not an ethical public official,” Greenberg said.

When it comes to investigating corruption cases in state government, more New Yorkers — 51 percent — most trust the state’s attorney general than federal prosecutors or the Joint Committee on Public Ethics, at 34 percent and 8 percent respectively.

Governor Cuomo, with a 54 percent favorability rating, is seen as an ethical public official two-to-one, although a near majority of voters say they would prefer “someone else” if he runs for re-election in two years.

Meanwhile, the state Assembly gets a favorable opinion by just 32 percent of New Yorkers while the Senate fares little better, with 34 percent of New Yorkers voicing a “favorable” view. These numbers represent a substantial decline from earlier this month.

One proposal for reducing corruption in state government is making the Legislature full-time, which would reduce opportunities and temptation to accept money and favors as part of their outside employment.

By a margin of 58 to 34 percent, up from 56 to 37 percent four weeks ago, voters support making the Legislature full-time with a ban on outside employment, compared to keeping the current system of part-time legislators who can have additional jobs.

If legislators were full-time, opposition to increasing their pay is down significantly, with 50 percent opposing, compared to 47 percent supporting. It was 56 to 41 percent opposed four weeks ago.

“A strong majority of voters support making state legislators full-time and prohibiting outside employment.  While support is strongest among Democrats and downstaters, a majority from every party and region support a full-time Legislature with outside employment banned,” Greenberg said.  “If the Legislature was full-time with outside employment banned, Democrats and downstaters would support raising their salary, while independents are closely divided and Republicans and upstaters overwhelmingly oppose a pay raise for full-time legislators.

While Cuomo remains relatively unscathed from recent headlines, 49 percent of all registered voters in New York say they will vote for “someone else” for governor in 2018

“Only Democrats — and only 52 percent of them — are with him. A plurality of independents and an overwhelming majority of Republicans would prefer “someone else” if Cuomo decides to run for a third term,” Greenberg said. “A small plurality of downstaters are prepared to re-elect Cuomo, while upstaters want “someone else” by a two-to-one margin.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted May 22 to 26, 2016 by telephone calls conducted in English to 825 New York state registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household.  It has an overall margin of error of 3.9 percentage points. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party, region and gender to ensure representativeness.