January 17, 2013
ALBANY, N.Y. — Voters are pleased with the agenda that New York’s governor has laid out for the 2013 legislative session, a poll Thursday found.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo himself still enjoys strong approval ratings. The Siena College poll found Cuomo with a 71% favorability rating, essentially unchanged from last month; 24% viewed him unfavorably. He had a 60% job-performance rating, also unchanged from December.
New Yorkers supported nine of Cuomo’s initiatives in his State of the State address Jan. 9, the poll said.
Voters said they supported strong bans on assault weapons and increasing penalties on illegal gun purchases — two key pieces of a gun-control law that lawmakers passed and Cuomo signed Tuesday.
Voters were split 52% to 46% on whether to have armed security guards in all schools. Cuomo has not proposed the idea.
“A new year and the same old, same old when it comes to how voters feel about the governor,” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. “He continues to be viewed favorably by more than 70% of voters, including 58% of Republicans, and he continues to have a 60% excellent/good job performance rating.”
Cuomo, a first-term Democrat who has been secretary of Housing and Urban development on the federal level and New York’s attorney general, is heading into his third year with approval ratings that are among the highest in the country for a governor. His poll numbers have changed little since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2010. He is the son of former New York governor Mario Cuomo.
In the first full day of the legislative session Monday, Cuomo landed a hastily announced deal with lawmakers to give New York the toughest gun-control laws in the nation and the first new laws since the Newtown, Conn., shootings last month in which 28 people died including 20 children.
“How many people have to die before government acts? How many more families have to grieve before government acts?” Cuomo told reporters Wednesday in Rochester, N.Y., as he attended a ceremonial signing of the restrictive gun laws. Two volunteer firefighters in suburban Webster, N.Y., died Christmas Eve when a felon opened fire on them as they responded to a fire that he had set. “In my opinion, enough innocent people have lost their lives. Something has to be done.”
The Siena poll was conducted Jan. 10 to 15 while the debate was going on and after the law was signed and involved 676 registered voters. It has a margin of error of ±3.8 percentage points.
Among the results:
- 73% of voters supported banning assault weapons and magazine clips of more than seven bullets, which is part of the new law.
- 91% said they supported increasing penalties for illegal gun purchases or for using guns on school grounds.
- 85% supported increasing the state minimum wage, which now is $7.25 an hour, the same as the federal minimum wage. Cuomo wants to increase it to $8.75.
- 59% backed public campaign financing with 36% against the idea.
Cuomo said he will seek to have lawmakers pass both the minimum wage and campaign finance proposals during the present legislative session that runs through June.
“The momentum exists for New York to be successful in creating a system of public financing of elections during this legislative session,” Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action said in a statement.