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Siena Poll Finds NY Gov. Cuomo’s Popularity Lagging, But Democrat Is Still Likeliest To Win

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

A new Siena College poll suggests New Yorkers still prefer Governor Andrew Cuomo over the Democrat’s current challengers in this year’s election. Cuomo recently lost the support of groups like Citizen Action and the Working Families Party.

With the primary some five months away, Governor Cuomo remains popular among Democrats, with 62 percent viewing him favorably and 32 percent unfavorably.  Steve Greenberg of the Siena College Research Institute points out that Cuomo’s favorability rating has fallen.   "This new Siena poll has some good news for Governor Cuomo and some bad news for Governor Cuomo. First, on the bad news, his favorability rating now stands at 49 percent favorable, meaning 49 percent of New York voters have a favorable view of Andrew Cuomo, 44 [percent] unfavorable. That ties for the lowest favorability rating Andrew Cuomo has had in his nearly eight years as governor. The last time it was that low, and it was exactly 49-44, was three years ago in July 2015. His job performance basically held from last month. Right now 41 percent give him a positive job performance rating as governor, 57 percent give him a negative job performance rating as governor. But when we matched Cuomo up against his potential opponents, Cuomo is still in a very strong position.”

How does Cuomo stack up against the competition?   "In a potential Democratic primary matchup, right now Cuomo leads Cynthia Nixon 58 to 27 percent, a 31-point lead. It is down, however, significantly from last month. The last Siena poll came out on the day Cynthia Nixon announced her candidacy, so we were in the field with that poll prior to Nixon being a candidate. Now, a month into her candidacy, what we see is Cuomo has a 58-27 lead, but it’s down from 56 to 19 percent. We also see that Cynthia Nixon still has a lot of work to do to become known to New York voters. Right now 45 percent of voters, almost half, don't know enough about her to have an opinion about her, and among those who do – break even – 27 percent view her favorably, 28 percent view her unfavorably. But if we just look at Democrats for Cuomo and Nixon, right now Cuomo has a 62-32 percent favorability rating among Democrats, compared to Cynthia Nixon's 33 to 23. So Cuomo has an advantage on favorability and he's got a 31-point lead in a head-to-head matchup."

Rebecca Castigan is senior advisor to the Nixon campaign.   "We're gratified by the enthusiasm and support for Cynthia's positive vision for the state, especially after only a few weeks in this race. But we are very focused on the work ahead of us and introducing Cynthia's progressivism to workers across the state."

Looking ahead to November, Greenberg notes as of today Cuomo would handily defeat declared Republican candidates, Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, both "unknown to at least three-quarters of New York voters," according to the poll. "So when we match them up head-to-head, Cuomo leads Molinaro 57 to 31 percent, virtually unchanged from last month, and he leads DeFrancisco 56 to 32 percent."

Molinaro's campaign emailed a statement saying Cuomo is more vulnerable than at any time during his two terms. Molinaro spokesperson Katy Delgado:  "These are the worst poll numbers that Cuomo has had. It's a clear example of his performance, failing the economy upstate, continued corruption and an MTA system that is completely crumbling."

WAMC reached out to both DeFrancisco and Cuomo but did not hear back in time for broadcast.

The Siena College poll of 692 registered New York voters was conducted April 8-12. It has a 4.3 percentage point margin of error.

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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