LOUDONVILLE -- A Siena College statewide poll released Tuesday contained mixed messages for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The Siena Research Institute poll found that a slim majority of New Yorkers feel New York is a better place than it was when Cuomo became governor nine years ago, but Cuomo has an overall negative approval rating.
A majority of New Yorkers think the state is better than it was in 2011, 51% to 39%, but Cuomo's overall approval rating was 43% positive, and 50% negative. Though Cuomo was re-elected to a third four-year term last fall, Siena said the result is tied for the worst rating since he became governor. He had the same rating this past February.
"Democrats, black, Latino and Jewish voters and voters from New York City strongly agree he's made the state better," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. "However, Republicans overwhelmingly say he's made the state worse, as do a plurality of independents and upstaters. Men, downstate suburbanites and white voters are closely divided."
The poll also found that voters overwhelmingly support new laws requiring vaccinations for children regardless of parents' religious beliefs, the new farm workers bill of rights, zero carbon emissions for electricity by 2040, banning single-use plastic bags and the prohibition on the "gay and trans panic" criminal defense. A majority continues to oppose the new law that allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver's license.
"Voters say Cuomo has put New York on the right track on protecting the rights of all New Yorkers, providing children with a quality public education and ensuring accessibility to affordable, quality health care," Greenberg said. "They give him mixed grades on infrastructure and helping business succeed. A plurality say he's moved the state in the wrong direction on creating a fair tax structure and managing state government efficiently."
Though much of the progressive legislation passed in the last legislative session was due to the Democrats' new control of the state Senate, Greenberg said the poll found that many voters think the other party should control at least one branch of state government "to provide checks and balances."
In recent decades, Democrats have controlled the Assembly and Republicans controlled the Senate nearly the entire time. "Even a strong majority of Democrats favor two-party control of state government," Greenberg said.
The poll was conducted July 28-Aug. 1 by telephone interviews conducted in English with 810 registered voters, Siena officials said.