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Siena Poll: Most voters want to hear Cuomo on state finances

A majority of New Yorkers is concerned about the state’s money woes in one way or another, and wants Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo’s inaugural address to address their fears.

In a poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute, 44 percent said they wanted Cuomo to address the revitalization of the state’s economy and 22 percent said he should be focused on balancing the state’s budget.

“The issues voters want to hear Andrew Cuomo talk about as he takes the oath of office to become New York’s next governor are the economy, jobs and the state budget,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg “If Cuomo was forced to limit his inaugural address to just one topic, voters overwhelmingly want it to be one that relates to the fiscal picture of the state.”

Regarding recent activities of the state Legislature during the special sessions, a majority of people polled opposed the pay raises for judges that were shepherded through both houses and signed by Gov. David Paterson.

When asked about the direction of the state and the country, the people of New York are not very optimistic.

By almost identical 2-to-1 ratios, voters say the state and the nation are headed in the wrong direction. “Only 29 percent of voters think the state is on the right track and similarly only 30 percent think the country is on the right track. Sixty percent of voters say the state is headed in the wrong direction and 59 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction,” Greenberg said. “The mood of voters is pretty grim when they look at their state or the nation. Clearly President Obama and Governor-elect Cuomo have their work cut out for them.”

On the national scale, New York voters reject the compromise being advanced on the Bush era tax cuts, with nearly 75 percent of people polled supporting an increase in the income tax rates for people earning over $1 million. This position would be in keeping with the compromise suggested by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, D-New York.

“Voters do strongly support higher income tax rates for millionaires to help close the budget deficit. Even a majority of Republicans and conservative voters say they would vote for a millionaire’s tax,” said Greenberg.

The poll also might reveal some troubling news for the re-election campaign of President Barack Obama, with support for his candidacy hovering at 43 percent in New York, while a generic opponent garnered 47 percent of support.

This number could be a troubling indicator for the Obama campaign, as New York is typically a state solidly in the corner of a Democratic candidate. In Obama’s favor, though, is the fact that most candidates poll poorly against a generic opponent, because that candidate has no flaws. Additionally, the question fails to distinguish between liberals who might not support Obama in a primary, but would rally around him during the general campaign.

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