NYS Democratic Gubernatorial Primary, April 2018

Marist New York State Poll

In the Democratic primary for New York State governor, incumbent Andrew Cuomo (68%) leads challenger Cynthia Nixon (21%) by more than three to one among registered Democrats in New York State. 11% are undecided. In 2014 when Zephyr Teachout challenged Cuomo, he received 62% of the vote in the primary to 34% for Teachout.

“The Nixon candidacy becomes a problem for Cuomo if and by how much she surpasses Teachout’s support four years ago,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Also, the more Cuomo needs to attack Nixon during the primary, the more he will have to pivot later to appeal to progressive Democrats nationally if he wants to run for president in 2020.”

Although it is five months to the primary contest, 39% of Democrats statewide express a high degree of enthusiasm, 35% say they are somewhat enthusiastic, and 25% express a low level of enthusiasm about voting in the Democratic primary.

“Despite Cuomo’s wide, early lead over Nixon, among Democrats most enthusiastic about voting, she already attracts the support of close to what Zephyr Teachout got,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Among voters who are highly enthusiastic to participate in the Democratic primary, Nixon receives 32% to Cuomo’s 60%.

Voters statewide though express dissatisfaction with the status quo. A majority of New York State registered voters (54%), including 39% of Democrats, say it is time to elect someone else. Only 39% think Cuomo deserves to be reelected, and 7% are unsure.

By party identification, 56% of Democrats say Cuomo deserves another term while 75% of Republicans and 63% of independents disagree. Regionally, a majority of voters in New York City (51%) say Cuomo deserves four more years in office, but Upstate voters (64%) and those in the suburbs (52%) say it’s time to elect someone else.

Governor Cuomo’s job approval rating is little changed. 42% of registered voters statewide say Cuomo is doing either an excellent (7%) or good (35%) job as governor. Cuomo’s approval rating is similar to when the NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll last asked this question in June 2017 with the exception that the proportion of voters who say Cuomo is performing poorly is 24%, up from 18% in that previous poll.

The proportion of those who believe Cuomo is missing the mark has more than doubled (15% up from 6%) in New York City and has increased Upstate (34% up from 27%). In the suburbs, it is currently 18%, little changed from 17% last time.

New York voters divide about the direction of the state. 48% say New York is moving in the right direction while 48% say it is moving in the wrong one. When this question was last asked in June 2017, 45% of voters thought the state was on track, and 43% believed it was off course.

“New York State voters make a distinction between how they rate Cuomo’s job performance and their overall impressions of him,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “For instance, a majority of voters don’t necessarily think Cuomo is changing government for the better, but a similar proportion see him as a good leader for the state.”

54% of voters have a favorable impression of him. 40% have an unfavorable one, and 6% have either never heard of Cuomo or are unsure how to rate him. This is little changed from when this was last asked in May 2015.

When it comes to Cuomo’s ideology, 31% of voters assert he is too liberal. 10% say he is too conservative, and 51% think his approach is about right. Seven percent are unsure.

On the specifics of Cuomo’s image, a majority (55%) say the governor is a good leader for New York State, but 53% do not think Cuomo is changing the way things work in Albany for the better. There has been an uptick in voters who assert Cuomo does not represent all regions of New York State. On this question, voters divide. 49% say the governor does not represent all parts of the state, up from 44% in September 2014. 47%, down from 52%, think Cuomo does. Fewer voters in New York City (57% down from 64%) and Upstate (37% down from 43%) now think Cuomo represents the entire state. There has been no change in the suburbs where 55% currently have this view.

Voters divide about whether or not Cuomo is trying to clean up corruption in state government. 45% believe he and his administration are while 44% say they are adding to the problem. 11% are unsure.

An increased proportion of voters (45% up from 35% in November 2013) think Cuomo is focusing too much attention on national politics and not enough time on the issues facing New Yorkers. 49% disagree, down from 59% previously.

Regarding any potential run for president in 2020, seven in ten New York voters (70% up from 51% last June) say they do not want Cuomo to run for President of the United States. Slightly more than one in four (26% down from 38%) say they do. Four percent are unsure.

Among Democrats and independents, there has been a marked increase in the proportion of those who say Cuomo should not enter the 2020 fray. 60% of Democrats, up from 38%, and 75% of independents, up from 48%, have this opinion.

There is little change in the job approval ratings of U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. Their respective scores have not wavered since last June. 47% of voters, identical to Schumer’s previous rating, approve of the job he is doing in office. Included here are 18% who say he is doing an excellent job in office and 29% who say he is doing a good one.

43% of voters think Gillibrand is doing well in her post. This includes 14% who say she is doing an excellent job and 29% who report she is doing a good one. A majority of voters (51%) also view Gillibrand favorably. 28% have an unfavorable opinion of her, and 21% have either never heard of Gillibrand or are unsure how to rate her.

Senator Gillibrand is up for re-election this year, and a plurality of registered voters (46%) say she deserves to be reelected. 39% think it is time to elect someone else. 15% are unsure.

“Despite her solid base for her re-election to the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has convincing to do if she wants to seek the presidency in 2020,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Nearly two in three voters (64% up from 45% last year) do not want Gillibrand to run for president in 2020. 25%, down from 31%, say she should seek the Presidency. 10%, down from 24%, are unsure.

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating in New York State is 30%, identical to what he scored last June. 12% say Trump is doing an excellent job, but 51% of voters report he is doing a poor one.

Complete April 12, 2018 NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll Release and Tables
Marist Poll Methodology
Nature of the Sample