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Siena Poll: Cuomo Ratings Up


A new Siena College poll out today reveals Governor Andrew Cuomo’s standing with New York voters has improved a little since last month and is now at its highest level since July.  Those surveyed also weighed in on fracking, the Common Core, and the death of Mario Cuomo.

On the eve of Cuomo’s fifth State of the State, voters told Siena jobs and education are the top two issues they want Cuomo to make his top priorities this year.

It's expected the governor will propose changes to the public school system, and revamp teacher evaluations. Siena Research Institute pollster Steve Greenberg notes voters are not happy with the Common Core:

"Only 34 percent of New Yorkers wanna see the Common Core standards for English and math in public schools implemented. 49 percent, nearly half, say they would like to stop implementation of the Common Core. Republicans in  particular and downstate suburbanites as well as upstaters strongly feel that the common core standards should be stopped."

Cuomo has complained that while two-thirds of students are failing new standardized tests associated with the Common Core learning standards, most teachers are rated very highly under new performance reports. The state teachers union has disputed that characterization.    "State government in Albany tends to focus on the bureaucracy of education. The lobbyists that protect the bureaucracy of education. My point is, I want to focus on the students."

Greenberg:  "Now, interestingly, despite the fact that it was the State Education Department and the Board of Regents that have implemented the Common Core and have been pushing for its implementation, when Siena asked voters 'who do you trust most to set education policy in New York, is it the governor, the legislature, the state education department, or the Board of Regents?'  Well, number one and two are the state education department and the Board of Regents. 38 percent of voters said they trust the education department most, 23 percent say they trust the Regents most, so that's 61 percent of voters who trust SED and the regents, compared to 18 percent who say they trust the governor the most and 8 percent who say they trust the legislature the most."

Actor Mark Ruffalo raises a jar of tainted water from a home near a Pennsylvania gas drilling well.
Credit WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas
Hydrofracking inspired celebrities to become activists, including Pete Seeger, Sean and Yoko Ono and Mark Ruffalo, who appeared at a 2010 State Capitol event bearing a jar of murky water.

The years-long wait and debate over whether to allow hydrofracking dogged Cuomo during his first term. He delayed a decision for nearly his entire first term. In mid-December, at a cabinet meeting in Albany, Cuomo and top cabinet members announced a fracking ban.

Siena asked voters what they thought about the Cuomo administration's decision to ban fracking.    "57 percent of voters say they support the Cuomo administration's ban on fracking, compared to 23 percent who oppose it. Two-thirds of Democrats support the governor's decision to ban fracking. A plurality but well under 50 percent of Republicans support it.  And it has support across the board geographically. 55 percent of voters from New York City. 61 percent from the downstate suburbs and 57 percent of upstaters all say they support the Cuomo administration's decision to ban fracking."

Cuomo’s Wednesday joint state of the state-budget speech was delayed due to the death of Cuomo’s father, former governor Mario Cuomo, on New Year’s Day.  The elder Cuomo delivered a passionate speech at the 1992 Democratic convention:    "Prayer is always a good idea, but our prayers must be accompanied by good works. We need a captain who understands that. And who will seize the wheel before it's too late. I am here tonight to offer America that new captain with a new cause before it is too late, and he is Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas!"

Mario Cuomo
Credit By David Berkowitz, via Wikimedia Commons

Siena wondered how voters in New York remember Mario Cuomo.   "76 percent of voters, more than three-quarters, say they have a favorable view of Mario Cuomo, compared to only 14 percent who say they view him unfavorably. Even Republicans, better than 2 to 1 favorable, upstaters, better than 3 to 1 favorable, and, when we looked at those voters who currently view Andrew Cuomo unfavorable, that 35 percent of voters statewide, who view the current governor unfavorably, among them, 54 percent to 33 percent, they view Mario Cuomo, favorably."

Siena Research Institute

- See more at: https://www.siena.edu/news-events/article/Heading-Into-Fifth-State-of-the-Stat#sthash.xC5bDnxw.dpuf

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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