ALBANY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo sank to his lowest job-approval rating since becoming governor, according to a poll released Monday, yet voters say he would still handily defeat Republican candidates if the election were held now.
The Siena College poll showed 56 percent of those questioned rated the Democrat's job performance as fair or poor. A month ago, 47 percent of voters felt that way.
In Monday's poll, just 44 percent of voters felt Cuomo was doing an excellent or good job after three years in office during which he logged nearly record marks in polls. Cuomo lost the most support for his performance in New York City, his political base in the heavily Democratic state. But he held steady upstate where he's been traveling often in recent weeks to shore up a drop in support after he led the effort to get gun control measures passed this year.
Still, Cuomo's overall and personal favorability among voters remains high at 61 percent, which is steady over recent months, but a drop from 71 percent favorability rating in January. In addition, Cuomo would also trounce potential Republican challengers at this point as he prepares to campaign for re-election next year.
State Democratic Committee Executive Director Rodney Capel called the poll "totally nonsensical."
State Republican Chairman Ed Cox said he feels the disapproval for the job Cuomo is doing is the result of an error in priorities. Cox insists Cuomo has failed to improve the economy and to reduce taxes, which the GOP says are the biggest concerns of New Yorkers. Instead, Cox said Cuomo spent his political capital on issues such as legalizing gay marriage and gun control to satisfy his liberal base.
Cox also says many New Yorkers are critical of Cuomo because he hasn't yet made a decision on whether to authorize more hydraulic fracturing for natural gas buried in an upstate shale deposit and which Cox said would produce jobs.
On Nov. 7, Cuomo won his effort to gain voter support for a referendum to authorize seven Las Vegas-style casinos. Fifty-seven percent of voters in the low-turnout, off-year election dominated by the New York City vote approved the constitutional amendment. But Cuomo was criticized by editorial writers and good-government groups for a rare rewording of the referendum to promise disputed benefits of casinos such as jobs, lower taxes and more school aid.
"He has not performed ... and people understand that casinos are not economic development," Cox said.
On Monday, Siena's poll found the statewide sentiment is much more divided. Voters were split when asked if, five years from now, the casino decision would be seen as wise. Fifty-one percent felt there will be both positive and negative outcomes.
The poll of 806 voters was conducted last Monday through Thursday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Siena Poll: http://www.siena.edu/SRI/SNY