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Second Poll Shows NY Gov. Cuomo Plummeting

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
Office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

The second voter survey in two weeks shows New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating plummeting to near record lows.

According to the Siena College poll, Cuomo’s job performance numbers dropped to just 43 percent, and his overall favorability rating, at 52 percent, is down nine points from just two months ago.  Last week, a poll by Quinnipiac University also found the governor’s approval rating at a near record low.

Siena spokesman Steve Greenberg says the major reason is transit troubles downstate, and riders overwhelmingly blame Cuomo for the mess.

“Given this ‘summer of hell’, as he described it, and what’s going on with MTA service mass transit, down in the New York City area,” Greenberg said.

Cuomo’s job approval numbers in New York City and Long Island are now at the same levels, the low 40s, as they have traditional been in upstate New York.

New Yorkers are evenly split on whether they’d like to elect Cuomo again in 2018, or someone else at 46-46 percent. Greenberg says the biggest decline in those numbers came, once again from downstate, where the number of people who want Cuomo to serve a third term as governor dropped by 27 points.  

Cuomo has made attempts to address the MTA’s problems. He declared a state of emergency, and promised an additional one billion dollars in infrastructure investments, though not until the new budget next spring.

His only appearance recently in New York City dealt with opposition to attempts by the Republican congress to repeal Obamacare.

Meanwhile, the governor relentlessly travels upstate, focusing on economic development announcements. 

At an announcement to renovate an historic hotel in downtown Niagara Falls, Cuomo once again touted his efforts to look out for Western New York’s interests, including investing one billion dollars in Buffalo, known as the Buffalo Billion. Cuomo says state government in the past was “detached” and “didn’t care." 

“Why a billion? Because it’s big, that’s why,” Cuomo said. “Our commitment is proportionate and commensurate with what we’re trying to deal with.”

Cuomo also announced that a health care data firm would create new jobs in a Rochester suburb, and he announced plans to renovate that city’s downtown train station.

The governor did not take any questions from reporters, on the poll results or any other topics.

Greenberg says it’s been a smart strategy, but the governor may now have to spend more time shoring up the support of downstate voters.

But he says it’s a year and a half until Election Day 2018, and Cuomo so far does not have a big name opponent.

“At this point, he’s running against himself,” Greenberg said.

And right now, Cuomo is still breaking even.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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