6/14: Cuomo Approval Rating Highest in Two Years

NBC 4 New York/Marist New York State Poll

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s job approval rating among registered voters statewide is at its highest point, 43%, since October 2014 when 44% rated the governor highly.  When the NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll previously reported this question last September, 40% gave Cuomo excellent or good marks.

Cuomo is also well-positioned for re-election in 2018.  Against his potential Republican opponents, Cuomo leads each of them by more than two to one, and nearly half of the statewide electorate reports they definitely plan to vote for the incumbent Cuomo in 2018.  However, when it comes to a 2020 presidential bid, a majority of voters, 51%, say they do not want Cuomo to enter the race.

Turning first to the governor’s job approval rating, 43% of registered voters statewide report Cuomo is doing either an excellent, 9%, or good, 34%, job in office.  This is an increase from the 40% the governor received in September 2016 and also is the governor’s highest mark in more than two years.  30% currently think Cuomo is doing a fair job in office, and 18% say he is doing a poor one.  Nine percent are unsure.

“New Yorkers are making a distinction between Governor Andrew Cuomo’s possible run for a third term and any future national ambitions,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “His re-election prospects look strong, but New Yorkers are less enthusiastic about his entering the 2020 presidential sweepstakes.”

Cuomo’s Democratic base is intact.  More than six in ten voters who identify as Democrats, 61%, up from 56% previously, think well of how the governor is performing in his post.  Even among those who consider themselves Republicans, 22% approve of how the governor is doing his job, an increase from 17% last fall.  Cuomo’s job performance among those who call themselves independents is little changed, 38% similar to 37% previously.

Cuomo is best received in New York City where 51% of registered voters approve of how he is doing his job, similar to 50% in September.  Opinions of how Cuomo is doing in his role have improved in the suburbs surrounding New York City, 46% up from 38%.  37% of upstate voters agree, a slight increase from the 34% who approved of the governor’s job performance last fall.

The New York State Senate and Assembly do not fare as well as the governor in the public’s eyes, yet, their ratings have improved.  29% of voters perceive the job the New York State Senate is doing as either excellent, 4%, or good, 25%.  This is up from the 23% who had this view when it was last asked in May 2015.  Similarly, 31% of the electorate report the New York State Assembly is doing either an excellent, 4%, or good, 27%, job.  This is an improvement from the 20% score the legislative body received previously.

In terms of Governor Cuomo’s ideology, half of voters, 50%, think it is about right.  29% believe he is too liberal, and 10% say he is too conservative.  11% are unsure.  These proportions are nearly identical to those reported in May 2015.

As public opinion stands now, Governor Cuomo has strong support for his re-election bid in 2018.  When matched against hypothetical Republican challengers, Cuomo has more than a 30-point advantage.  Regardless of his opponent, the governor receives the support of more than eight in ten voters who identify as Democrats and has the support of, at least, a majority of independent voters statewide.  Not surprisingly, at least a majority of voters who consider themselves to be Republican back the GOP candidate.  Notable proportions of Republicans and independents are undecided.

Regardless of region, Cuomo outpaces his hypothetical Republican challengers.  He runs best in New York City and in the city’s suburbs but also has a double-digit lead against his competitors upstate.

In fact, 47% of registered voters in the state say they will definitely vote for Cuomo in 2018.  27% report they will definitely vote against him, 9% say it depends on who challenges Cuomo, and 17% are unsure.

“When an incumbent has nearly 50% of the electorate willing to commit to his candidacy, it poses a formidable challenge to those seeking to unseat him,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Governor Cuomo may have majority support when it comes to his gubernatorial re-election hopes, but a majority, 51%, of New York voters do not want him to run for president in 2020.  38% would like him to make a bid for the White House, and 11% are unsure.  A majority of those who identify as Democrats, 51%, do want Cuomo to join the presidential fray.

Cuomo is not the only New York politician that voters want out of the 2020 contest.  A plurality, 45%, report Senator Kirsten Gillibrand should not run for president.  31% think she should, and a notable 24% are unsure.  The uncertainty about Gillibrand is found even among voters who identify with her own party.  38% support a White House bid, 35% do not, and 27% are unsure.

The third time would not be the charm for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to more than two-thirds of voters.  67% do not want Clinton to run for president again.  Only 28% think she should, and 5% are unsure.  Voters who consider themselves Democrats divide with 49% saying Clinton should run, and 46% reporting she should not.  In addition to Democrats, the only other demographic groups who support a Clinton run in 2020 are African Americans, 58%, and Latinos, 58%.

Turning to the job approval ratings of New York’s U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Schumer’s rating is down to 47% from 53% last fall. This is his lowest rating since September 2010 when the same proportion of voters, 47%, thought Schumer was doing either an excellent or good job in office.  Included in Schumer’s current rating are 18% who think he is doing an excellent job, 29% who say he is doing a good one, 22% who rate Schumer as fair, and 21% who say he is doing a poor job in the U.S. Senate.  Nine percent are unsure.  Of note, Schumer’s “poor” rating has nearly doubled from 12% last fall.

Schumer does maintain his Democratic base.  His positive score among voters who identify with his party is 68%, little changed from 66% last time.  However, the senator’s “poor” rating among Republicans is up to 45% from 24%.  His, overall, job approval rating among these voters is 22% which is down from 35% previously.  Among those who consider themselves to be independents, 20% rate Schumer as “poor” compared with 14% last time.  Regionally, Schumer’s job score is little changed among those in New York City and in the city’s suburbs.  However, it has declined from 49% to 39% among upstate voters.

Senator Gillibrand’s job performance rating is little changed from last fall.  45% currently rate how she is doing in office as “excellent,” 14%, or “good,” 31%.  This is comparable to the 43% she garnered previously.  22% now rate her job performance as “fair” while 11% think Gillibrand is doing a poor job as senator.  23% are still unsure how to rate her.

President Donald Trump’s approval rating is upside down in New York State.  30% give Trump either an excellent, 13%, or good, 17%, mark.  This compares with 66% who rate him as either fair, 16%, or poor, 50%.  Four percent are unsure.  Attitudes divide along party lines with 66% of those who identify as Republicans giving Trump high marks.  Only 12% of Democrats and 26% of independents agree.  Regionally, Trump performs best upstate, receiving a job approval rating of 38%.  27% in the suburbs of New York City, and 22% in the five boroughs say the same.  Among white voters without a college education, a majority, 54%, say Trump is doing well in his post.  Only 20% of white voters with a college education share this view.

On the issues, if the federal government reduces its share of spending on programs such as food stamps and Medicaid, New York State residents, 51%, think the state should increase its spending for these programs to make up for the federal cutbacks, even if it means higher taxes.  35% of adults disagree and say the state should also reduce these programs to maintain current spending levels.  Similar proportions of registered voters, 49% and 38%, respectively, have these views.  Not surprisingly, 70% of voters who identify as Democrats support increased expenditures to make up the spending cuts while 62% of those who consider themselves Republicans prefer not to see state spending rise if there are federal reductions.  A plurality of those who think of themselves as independents, 46%, want to see the state offset the federal spending cuts.

“A majority of New Yorkers are willing to bite the higher tax bullet if national expenditures on programs like Medicaid and food stamps are reduced,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

New York voters divide about the direction of the state.  45% think it is moving in the right direction, and 43% say it is moving in the wrong one.  12% are unsure.  The proportion of voters who believe the state is going in the right direction is at its highest since October 2014 when 45% also had this view.  In September, a majority of voters, 51%, thought the state was moving in the wrong direction, and 42% said it was moving in the right one.

Click Here for Complete June 14, 2017 NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll Release and Tables

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample