Poll Boosts Cuomo in Election Year

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) -

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating has improved, and he has substantial leads over two potential Republican challengers in the November election, according to a poll released Monday.

The Siena College poll found 54 percent of New York voters who responded rated Cuomo’s job performance as good or excellent. That’s up from 44 percent of respondents who felt that way last November. The first-term governor was also viewed favorably in the new poll by 66 percent of respondents, which also is up from November.

Pollsters telephoned voters Jan. 12-16, days after Cuomo sketched out an election-year agenda that included tax relief and higher education spending in his annual State of the State address. The poll found wide support for State of the State proposals including universal prekindergarten and a $2 billion bond act to bring technology into classrooms.

Pollsters found 28 percent of respondents supported Cuomo’s limited plan to offer medical marijuana at about 20 hospitals. But 49 percent said New York should move beyond a test program and follow the lead of other states that have made medical marijuana legal.

The poll found Cuomo with leads of 48 points over two potential Republican challengers: Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Donald Trump. Both men are expected to make decisions in the next month or two on whether they will run for governor.

Astorino wasn’t well-known statewide, with 76 percent of the respondents saying they didn’t know him or had no opinion. Trump was widely known but viewed unfavorably by 57 percent of respondents.

The poll has less bright news for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the most vulnerable of the statewide Democrats this year. Up for his first reelection, he is viewed favorably by just 27 percent, while 15 percent see him as likeable. A whopping 58 percent don’t know much about him. Schneiderman’s biggest support comes from liberals, who back him 37 percent.

So far, Schneiderman has no declared Republican opponent. Those mentioned are former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, former Giuliani aide Randy Mastro, and Marc Mukasey, a former federal prosecutor whose father is ex-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli does a tad better than Schneiderman, with 28 percent supporting his reelection and just 17 percent unfavorable ratings.