March 7, 2013
3/7: Cuomo Approval Rating Still Strong, But Digging Deeper Significant Shifts
A majority of registered voters in New York State — 56% — approve of the job Governor Andrew Cuomo is doing in office. This includes 12% who think the governor is doing an excellent job and 44% who believe he is doing a good one. 27% rate Mr. Cuomo’s performance as fair while 13% say he is doing a poor job in office. Five percent are unsure.
When Marist last reported this question in October, among registered voters statewide, Governor Cuomo received his highest approval rating since taking office — 59%. At that time, 15% said the governor was doing an excellent job while 44% thought he was doing a good one. Three in ten voters — 30% — believed Cuomo was performing fairly well while 7% said he fell short. Three percent were unsure.
“Although little has changed in Governor Cuomo’s overall approval rating, there has been major movement under the radar,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Cuomo is doing better among Democrats and voters who describe themselves as liberal, but this is offset by a decline in his rating among Republicans, independents, conservatives, and upstate voters.”
- Governor Cuomo’s job approval rating has declined upstate. Here, 49% of voters currently approve of how he is doing in office while 58% had this view in October.
- In New York City, 60% of registered voters think well of the governor’s performance. This is little changed from 61% in October.
- In the city’s suburbs, 60% of voters applaud Mr. Cuomo’s job performance. In October, the same proportion — 60% — had this view.
- There has been a drop in the governor’s approval rating among Republicans. 46% of these voters currently approve of the job Mr. Cuomo is doing in office while 59% held this view in October.
- Among non-enrolled voters statewide, 46% give Cuomo a thumbs-up. This is down from 56% last fall.
- Among New York State Democrats, 67% give Mr. Cuomo high marks. This compares with 61% in October.
- Registered voters who describe themselves as conservative are less positive in their rating of Governor Cuomo than they were last October. 39% of conservative identifiers currently give the governor high marks. Last fall, a majority of these voters, 54%, held this view.
- Moderate voters have tempered somewhat in their evaluation of the governor’s performance in office over the past few months, as well. 58% give Governor Cuomo a thumbs-up compared with 63% who approved of the job he was doing last October.
- Among voters who describe themselves as liberal, 75% currently give Governor Cuomo good marks. Last fall, 62% had this view.
Most New Yorkers still view Governor Cuomo favorably. About two-thirds of voters in New York State — 66% — have a positive opinion of him. One in four voters — 25% — have an unfavorable view of the governor, and 9% are unsure.
In April, 69% of registered voters had a favorable impression of Cuomo. 21% did not, and 10%, at that time, were unsure.
While there has been a bump in the governor’s favorability rating among Democrats, fewer Republicans and non-enrolled voters have a positive opinion of Cuomo.
- 77% of Democrats have a favorable impression of the governor, up from 72% in April.
- Among Republicans statewide, 60% have a positive view of Cuomo. This is down from 71% in April.
- There has also been a decline in the proportion of non-enrolled voters who have a favorable opinion of Mr. Cuomo. 55% have this impression now compared with 64% last spring.
Nearly Half of Voters Not Satisfied with New Gun Law
While 41% of New York registered voters think the new gun law put forward by Governor Cuomo is about right, 49% are not happy with the legislation. This includes 30% of voters who say the law goes too far and 19% who believe it does not go far enough. Nine percent are unsure.
Not surprisingly, 66% of gun owners in New York State say the law is excessive. One in four — 25% — reports the law is about right, and just 8% think it does not go far enough. One percent is unsure.
- Nearly half of voters in New York City — 48% — report the new gun law is about right.
- A plurality of those in the city’s suburbs — 43% — think the gun law is appropriate.
- However, nearly half of upstate voters — 48% — believe the legislation goes too far.
- A majority of Democrats — 57% — think the law is appropriate.
- Among Republicans, nearly half — 48% — say the legislation goes too far.
- A plurality of non-enrolled voters — 43% — also believe the law is excessive.
On Education Reform: Mixed Reviews for Longer Days…Majority Supports Longer Year
As part of Governor Cuomo’s State of the State, the governor outlined proposals to transform education in New York. How do his ideas fare among the electorate?
51% of registered voters either oppose or strongly oppose longer school days for children. 48%, however, either support or strongly support the proposal. Two percent are unsure. Among parents, 55% oppose the idea while 43% support it.
However, 56% of registered voters in New York State are for the idea to have more school days in the calendar year. 43% are against the idea, and 1% is unsure.
Similar proportions of parents share these views. 54% of households with school-aged children support or strongly support a longer school year. 44% either oppose or strongly oppose the idea.
If they had to choose, 58% of registered voters would rather have more school days in the calendar year. 39%, however, would prefer longer school days. Three percent are unsure.
There is little difference among parents. 56% of households with children would rather their children have a longer school year while 40% would prefer their children have longer school days. Three percent are unsure.
Governor Cuomo has significant sway with voters. When these proposals are presented as changes he is advocating, they are more popular than when described as simply changes to education in New York State.
As a change proposed by Governor Cuomo, 55% of registered voters are for longer school days compared with only 42% who share this view when it is just presented as a change to education in the state. Similarly, voters are more supportive of a longer school calendar if it is seen as an initiative by the governor, 61%, than if it is not associated with the governor’s plan, 52%.
Voters Perceive Shift in Cuomo’s Ideology
37% of registered voters in New York State believe Governor Cuomo is a moderate while 35% say he is a liberal. 14% describe the governor as a conservative, and 13% are unsure.
This is a change from when Marist last reported this question in January of 2012. At that time, a majority — 57% — thought Cuomo was a moderate. 21% said he was a liberal while 14% described him as conservative. Nine percent, at that time, were unsure.
The largest shift has occurred among Republicans. Half of Republicans — 50% — currently perceive Cuomo’s ideology to be liberal. In January of 2012, 24% of these voters agreed.
On the specifics of Governor Cuomo’s image:
- 69% of New York voters think Cuomo is a good leader for the state. 25% do not, and 6% are unsure. This is nearly unchanged from last April when 70% described the governor as an effective leader for the Empire State. 25% disagreed, and 5% were unsure.
- 66% of the statewide electorate thinks Mr. Cuomo cares about the average person. 28% disagree, and 6% are unsure. Here too, the governor is fairly consistent. In April, 64% described Governor Cuomo as someone who cares about the average person. 29% did not, and 7% were unsure.
- More than six in ten voters — 61% — think the governor is changing the way things work in Albany for the better. 32% do not, and 7% are unsure. There has been little change on this question since April when 61% reported Cuomo was having a positive impact on Albany. 30% had the opposite view, and 9% were unsure.
- When it comes to whether or not the governor represents all regions of the state, 53% believe he does while 40% do not. 7% are unsure. When Marist last reported this question in May of 2011, 63% believed Cuomo represented all regions of New York. 28% had the opposite view, and 9% were unsure. Regionally, upstate voters are the least likely to perceive the governor as equally representing all areas of the state. Here, 43% agree with this statement while 60% had this view almost two years ago.
- Four in ten registered voters statewide — 40% — think Governor Cuomo is paying too much attention to national politics and not enough attention to New York State. A majority — 53% — disagrees, and 7% are unsure. More voters currently believe Cuomo is looking toward the national stage than previously. In April, 33% held this view while 59% disagreed. Nine percent, at that time, were unsure.
Majority Approves of Cuomo’s Handling of the Budget…Half Support Cuts to Close Deficit
55% of registered voters in New York State approve of how Governor Cuomo is handling the New York State budget. 36% disapprove, and 9% are unsure.
When Marist last reported this question in April, 59% thought well of Cuomo’s budgetary skills while 34% disapproved. Seven percent, at that time, were unsure.
When it comes to closing the state’s budget deficit, 50% of voters would prefer lawmakers mostly cut programs and services. 42%, however, would like lawmakers to mostly increase taxes and fees. Eight percent are unsure.
There is a partisan divide. 68% of Republicans in New York and 57% of non-enrolled voters support cutting programs and services. Among Democrats, 57% would rather see increases in taxes and fees.
Many Support Raising the Minimum Wage
Nearly seven in ten voters in New York — 69% — think raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75 per hour is a good idea because it adds to people’s income. 28%, however, say it is a bad idea because businesses will hire fewer people who need jobs. Three percent are unsure.
No Consensus on Hydrofracking
39% of adults in New York State oppose hydrofracking in New York State at the Marcellus Shale. 40% support going forward, and 21% are unsure.
Similar proportions of registered voters share these views. 41% of the electorate is against hydrofracking. 40% of voters are for it, and 20% are unsure.
- In New York City, a plurality of voters — 42% — oppose hydrofracking and 35% support it. 23% are unsure.
- In the suburbs of New York City, 39% of voters are against the process, 35% are for it, and 26% are unsure.
- Upstate, 45% of voters support hydrofracking while 41% oppose it. 14% are unsure.
- 48% of Democrats oppose hydrofracking in New York State and 31% support it. 21% are unsure.
- A slim majority of Republicans — 51% — support the process compared with 33% who oppose it. 16% are unsure.
- There is little consensus among non-enrolled voters. 42% support hydrofracking while 38% oppose it. 20% are unsure.
Bump in Senate and Assembly Approval Ratings
While the approval ratings for the New York State Senate and Assembly are still low, these legislative bodies are faring better in voters’ eyes.
30% of registered voters statewide approve of the job the State Senate is doing in office. Included here are 3% who believe the legislative body is doing an excellent job and 27% who say it is doing a good one. 39% rate its performance as fair while 25% give it poor grades. Six percent are unsure.
When Marist last reported this question in April, 22% approved of the State Senate’s job performance. 45% thought the legislative body was doing an average job while 28% said it fell short. Five percent, at that time, were unsure.
Looking at the State Assembly, 30% approve of the job it is doing. This includes 3% who believe the legislative body is doing an excellent job and 27% who say it is doing a good one. 41% believe it is performing fairly well while 24% say it misses the mark. Five percent are unsure.
In April, 24% of voters gave the State Assembly high marks. 46% thought it was doing an average job, and 25% gave it a thumbs-down. Six percent, at the time, were unsure.
Dip in Optimism in New York State
Overall, what do voters think about the direction of New York State? A slim majority — 51% — believes it is moving in the right direction while 44% think it is traveling in the wrong one. Four percent are unsure.
There has been a slight decline in the proportion of registered voters who say the state is on track. In October, 56% said the state was on the right course while 39% reported it was on the wrong one. Six percent were unsure. At that time, the proportion of voters who thought the state was on the right track was the highest since September of 2002.