5/12: Cuomo Approval Rating at Lowest Point… Albany Perceived as Dripping with Corruption

While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo remains well-liked statewide, his job performance rating, 37%, has declined to its lowest point since he became governor in 2011.  Cuomo’s approval rating is down seven points since The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll last reported it in October and is in stark contrast to his highest score, 59%, in October of 2012.

Cuomo has lost ground with his base.  Only 43% of Democratic voters, down from 56% last fall, give the governor high marks.  Cuomo’s approval rating has suffered statewide.  Regardless of the region where voters live, fewer approve of how he is doing his job.  The sharpest decline has occurred among voters in New York City where 44% say he is doing, at least, a good job as governor.  This is a decrease from 53% in October.  Governor Cuomo’s approval rating in the city is identical to that of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who faces growing pessimism and racial polarization within the Big Apple.  And, while Cuomo’s favorable rating is respectable at 52%, it is also at its lowest point since the governor has been in office.

The decline in Governor Cuomo’s approval rating is due, at least in part, to the widespread opinion that Albany is corrupt.  In fact, three in four voters statewide, 75%, think the level of corruption in state government has increased over the past few years, 43%, or has remained the same which, in their view, is a bad thing, 32%.  Among New York State voters who say corruption has gotten worse in Albany, Cuomo’s approval rating stands at 26%.

The governor is also no longer thought to be changing the way things work in Albany for the better.  50% do not think Cuomo is having a positive impact on state government, and only 40% do.  Among those who do not think the governor is improving the way Albany functions, his job performance rating is 12% compared with 65% among those who think he has had a positive role.

Turning to the New York State Assembly and Senate, voters’ attitudes toward these legislative bodies are dismal.  Only 20% of voters approve of the job the Assembly is doing, and 23% approve of the job of the state senate.  Ratings for both have dipped since September from 25% and 26%, respectively.

Overall, voters are pessimistic about the direction of the state.  A majority, 51%, believes New York State is moving in the wrong direction, and 43% say things are going in the right one.  Voters’ attitudes have not been this bleak about the state’s trajectory since May of 2011 when 54% of voters believed the Empire State was off course.

However, opinions about the condition of New York’s economy have improved.  While 52% of voters still consider the state to be in a recession, this is the smallest proportion who have this view since January of 2006 when voters divided.  47%, at that time, believed New York to be in a recession while 46% disagreed with that characterization.

While voters’ views toward statewide officials are gloomy, elected officials on the national stage fare better.  President Barack Obama’s approval rating among New York State voters has rebounded from its lowest point, 39%, in September to 46% now.  Senator Charles Schumer’s approval rating, 54%, is rock solid.  Schumer received the identical score in September.  45% of New York voters think well of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s performance compared with 48% last fall.

“Elected officials with an Albany, New York working address are struggling,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “For Governor Andrew Cuomo, how low is low?  His predecessors’ low points included 17% for David Paterson, 30% for Eliot Spitzer, 34% for George Pataki, and 32% for Mario Cuomo.” 

Complete May 12, 2015 Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll

Poll points:

  • 37% of New York registered voters rate Cuomo’s job performance as either excellent, 4%, or good, 33% (Trend).  Cuomo’s approval rating has dropped seven points since October when 44% gave the governor high marks.
  • Among Democrats, 43% approve of Cuomo’s job performance, down from 56% in October.  Cuomo’s approval rating stands at 25% among Republicans and 38% among independents.
  • Regardless of region, Governor Cuomo has experienced a decline in his approval rating.  In New York City, Cuomo’s score has dropped nine points to 44% from 53% last fall.  41% of voters in the suburbs of New York City approve of the governor’s performance, down from 48%.  Upstate, 31% say Cuomo is performing well.  36% had this view previously.
  • Among voters who perceive an increase in corruption in state government, only 26% rate the governor’s job performance highly.
  • 75% of voters consider the state government in Albany to be more corrupt, 43%, or to be about the same as it has been which, they say, is bad, 32%.  Only 8% report Albany is less corrupt, and 10% think it is status quo which is a good thing.  Two percent believe corruption in Albany is at the same level it has been and did not specify whether that is good or bad.
  • Half of New York voters, 50%, say Governor Cuomo is not changing the way things work in state government in Albany for the better while 40% say he is (Trend).  One in ten, 10%, is unsure.  This is the first time since Cuomo became governor that voters’ opinions on this question are upside down.  When last reported in September, the electorate divided with 47% reporting Cuomo was having a positive impact on Albany and 47% saying he was not improving state government.
  • Among voters who believe he is not improving how state government functions, only 12% rate the governor’s job performance highly.
  • A majority of registered voters, 52%, have a favorable impression of Cuomo, little changed from 54% in October (Trend).  While a majority still perceives the governor positively, this is Cuomo’s lowest favorable rating since taking office.
  • 49% of voters say Cuomo’s political ideology is about right.  29% think he is too liberal, and 13% consider him too conservative.  One in ten, 10%, is unsure.
  • One in five voters statewide, 20%, compared with 25% in September, thinks the New York State Assembly is doing either an excellent, 3%, or good, 17%, job in office.  41% rate the legislative body as fair while 32% believe it is performing poorly (Trend).
  • 23% of voters, compared with 26% last fall, say the New York State Senate is doing either an excellent, 3%, or good, 20%, job in office (Trend).
  • 51% of voters say things in New York are moving in the wrong direction while 43% say they are heading in the right one (Trend).  The proportion of voters who think the state is off track is the largest since May of 2011 when 54% thought things in New York were going in the wrong direction.  When this question was last reported in October, the electorate divided.  46%, at that time, said the state was on the wrong path, and 45% believed it was on the right course.
  • Regionally, 43% of New York City voters, up from 35% in the fall, say the state is traveling in the wrong direction.  48% of suburban voters, up from 37% in October, also have this view.  There has been virtually no change among voters Upstate where nearly six in ten, 58%, think the state is off track.
  • 52% of voters, down from 57% in September, say New York State is in a recession (Trend).  This is the smallest proportion of voters since January of 2006 to report New York is in a recession.  At that time, 47% believed the state was under the recession’s cloud while 46% said it was not.
  • 46% of voters in New York think President Barack Obama is doing either an excellent, 14%, or good, 32%, job in office (Trend).  President Obama’s approval rating has improved from its lowest point in New York, 39%, in September.
  • A majority of voters, 54%, approves of the job Senator Chuck Schumer is doing in office, unchanged from September (Trend).
  • 45% of voters rate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s job performance highly (Trend).  38% give Gillibrand lower ratings, and a notable 18% have either never heard of her or are unsure how to rate her.

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables