We don't want our elected leaders to govern exclusively by the whims of polls.
But Gov. Andrew Cuomo would be wise to at least take the latest Siena College poll results into consideration as he plots out his strategies for the remaining three-plus years of his second term.
The numbers, released Wednesday, are quite revealing, especially when you get down into the details. Cuomo should be particularly cognizant of the public's view of how he's handling the state's financial condition, business climate, education and government corruption.
For instance, on addressing the issue of the state's friendliness toward business, only 45 percent of the 802 registered voters polled gave him a grade of excellent or good, while 50 percent said he was doing a fair or poor job. So more than half the people are dissatisfied with the state's regulatory environment, business incentives and the cost of doing business in New York. He clearly needs to re-evaluate what he’s doing in those areas.
Cuomo got even lower marks on his handling of the economy, with 63 percent saying he’s done a fair or poor job.
Anyone who follows education in this state knows the problems with inadequate or disproportionate school funding, rising local expenses, testing and teacher evaluations. According the poll, only 24 percent ranked the governor’s handling of education as good or excellent. That’s far less than the 41 percent who said he's doing a poor job.
And in his first term, the governor was widely praised for his ability to compel the Legislature to fulfil his agenda. No so much now, according to the poll.
Even with a majority of New York voters registered as Democrats compared to Republicans, and even with Democrats solidly in control of the Assembly and with a significant minority in the Senate, the governor is seen generally as doing a fair or poor job — even among voters in his own party.
Having been in office 4-1/2 years, the governor can't continue to push the same old agenda and stave off the public by saying his policies just need time to work. The public has had plenty of time to see his agenda at work, they've seen how he operates, and apparently, they don't think much of either.
Being confident and self-assured are good qualities in a governor. But being obstinate and inflexible in the wake of clear evidence of dissatisfaction will quickly make the public yearn for a replacement to do the job right.
Gov. Cuomo should see these poll results not as an outright condemnation of his administration, but as an opportunity for a mid-course correction in his agenda and the way he manages the state.
He still has time. The big question is, will he heed the voters’ concerns?
*** To read all the poll results, visit our "Your Right to Know" blog on www.dailygazette.com.