Siena Poll: Cuomo, legislators enjoy bump in popularity

Survey respondents overwhelmingly disapprove of pay raises for lawmakers
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an event in June 2018.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo at an event in June 2018.

ALBANY — Most New York voters think Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature are doing a pretty good job, but that shouldn’t translate into a pay raise, according to a new Siena College poll released Monday morning.

Cuomo’s “favorability rating” among registered voters jumped from 45-49 percent in November to 51-43 percent this month.

The first number is the percentage of respondents who said they viewed the governor favorably, while the second number is the percentage of respondents who viewed him negatively. The new numbers reflect the results collected between Jan. 6-10 by the Siena Research Institute. 

The Assembly, meanwhile, had its best favorability rating ever, 48-32 percent, up from 40-43 percent in June of 2018. Again, the first number is the percentage of survey respondents who viewed the Assembly favoribly; the second number is the percentage who viewed it unfavorably. As for the state Senate, the Siena Poll has them at 49-38 percent, just shy of its best ever number and well up from 41-45 percent last June.

What they do disapprove of in overwhelming numbers, 80-15 percent, is the salary increase approved by the state’s pay raise commission — a raise that has yet to be voted on by the Legislature.

“As he begins his third term, Andrew Cuomo moves back into positive territory, with a small majority of voters, 51 percent, viewing him favorably,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Although, that is a far cry from the 70 percent favorability rating he had beginning his first term and even the 60 percent favorability rating he had beginning his second term. More than two-thirds of Democrats view Cuomo favorably, while independents are divided and three-quarters of Republicans view him unfavorably.”

While Cuomo’s favorability rating may be up, his job performance numbers are not impressive, with just 43 percent of registered voters saying he’s doing a good or excellent job. Many registered voters are also still unfamiliar with the legislative leaders. Speaker Carl Heastie had just a 14-15 percent response to questions about his favorability — the remainder of respondents did not provide opinions. And Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins had a favorability rating of 20-12 percent.

“Both legislative leaders are largely unknown to more than two-thirds of voters,” said Greenberg. “When it comes to the Legislature approving a pay raise for the governor and other state leaders, New Yorkers overwhelmingly say you shouldn’t do it. That includes nearly three-quarters of Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans and independents.”

Most of Cuomo’s initiatives for 2019 are supported by New York voters, including the legalization of recreational use of marijuana, 56-41 percent, and the Dream Act, 58-39 percent, which would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to receive financial aid for higher education.

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