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Gov. Cuomo's popularity takes a dive, Siena poll shows

Gov. Cuomo's popularity takes a dive, Siena poll shows

Drop may be in part due to Percoco trial, professor says
Gov. Cuomo's popularity takes a dive, Siena poll shows
Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference in New York on Dec. 11, 2017.
Photographer: JEENAH MOON/THE NEW YORK TIMES

LOUDONVILLE — Gov. Andrew Cuomo's favorability rating, after reaching its highest point of his second term in early January, took a considerable dip this month.

According to the latest poll conducted by the Siena College Research Institute and released early Monday, Cuomo's favorability rating fell from 62 percent positive and 30 percent negative the week of Jan. 7-11 to 53 percent positive and 40 percent negative last week. Also, the number of registered New York voters happy with Cuomo's job performance also decreased, dropping from 50 percent positive and 48 percent negative in January to 45 percent positive and 53 percent negative.

Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said the governor's numbers took a hit with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Cuomo is running for a third term in November.

"In all three measures, Cuomo is down with voters in New York City, down big upstate and essentially unchanged in the downstate suburbs," Greenberg said in a news release. "The drop was much bigger with men than with women. The good news for Cuomo is that the two Republicans still seeking to run against him [state Sen. John DeFrancisco and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra] are both unknown to more than three-quarters of New York voters."

Daniel Lewis, an associate professor and chairman of the Political Science Department at Siena College, said Cuomo's drop in popularity may be in part due to the bribery trial of a former Cuomo aide, Joseph Percoco, which started last month.

"It may be related to the Percocco trial, but the drop itself is likely to be a bit overstated," Lewis said. "In looking at his ratings from [Siena] polls over the past year ... they have fluctuated between 52 and 62 percent, with an average of about 56."

Lewis said the numbers, at least not yet, don't forecast any bad news come November for the governor.

"It is important to note that public support remains relatively high for nearly all of the major items on Cuomo's agenda," Lewis said. "So, while the public support for Cuomo certainly declined from his high levels in January, the public remains relatively supportive of the governor, his job performance, his re-election and his agenda. However, if the public support continues to drop in the coming months, that may present a challenge in enacting the governor's agenda and could possibly create a more competitive election in November."

The Siena poll also asked questions about the Supreme Court, FBI and the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller, and all received high marks in terms of their "trustworthy score."

"Democrats, Republicans and independents all agree — as do voters from every region of the state — the Supreme Court and the FBI are both highly trustworthy," Greenberg said. "Democrats and independents feel similarly about Mueller, although Republicans are closely divided on their view of his trustworthiness."

The "trustworthy score" was determined by pollsters talking to registered voters to determine the intensity of their sentiment. If 100 percent of respondents indicated "completely trustworthy," the score would be 100. If 100 percent indicated "not at all trustworthy," the score would be 0. The Supreme Court's "trustworthy score" was 72, while the FBI had a score of 67 and Mueller 65. New Yorkers also gave Democrats in Congress a score of 51, Republicans a 37 and President Donald Trump a 32.

Also, two-thirds of independents and 84 percent of Democrats feel that Mueller's investigation should continue unimpeded, while Republicans are highly divided.

The Siena College poll was conducted between Feb. 5-8, by telephone calls in English to 823 registered voters in New York state.

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