9/24: Cuomo Outpaces Astorino in NY Governor’s Race

In the race for New York State governor, Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo leads his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, by 25 percentage points among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Cuomo is bolstered by his Democratic base.  However, even 27% of Republicans favor the incumbent.  The governor’s support is also buoyed by likely voters in New York City where seven in ten say they will support Mr. Cuomo.  Governor Cuomo bests Astorino by more than two to one in the suburbs which surround New York City.  The race is more competitive Upstate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (courtesy of N.Y. State)

Governor Cuomo continues to be viewed favorably by a majority of New York voters despite a job approval rating which matches the governor’s lowest since taking office.  Currently, 55% of registered voters have a positive impression of the governor, but only 42% approve of how Cuomo is doing his job.

“The race for governor is all about Cuomo.  Cuomo’s supporters are voting for him, and Astorino’s backers are voting against the governor,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “The bottom line is Cuomo has a strong lead, and Astorino is still struggling to get traction.”

Complete September 24, 2014 Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll

Poll Points:

  • In the contest for New York governor, a majority of New York likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 54%, supports Democrat Andrew Cuomo.  29% are for Republican Rob Astorino while Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has 9%.
  • Three in four Democrats, 75%, support Cuomo.  And, while 63% of Republicans back Astorino, a notable 27% are for Cuomo.  Among independents likely to vote, a plurality, 43%, backs Cuomo.  31% are for Astorino, and 13% support Hawkins.
  • Cuomo has overwhelming support among likely voters in New York City, 70%.  He also has a majority of support in the city’s suburbs, 56%.  However, Cuomo, 42%, and Astorino, 39%, are competitive Upstate.
  • A majority of likely voters with a candidate preference, 53%, reports they strongly support their choice of candidate for governor.  32% somewhat support their pick, and 14% might vote differently.  56% of Astorino backers and 53% of Cuomo supporters are strongly committed to their choice.
  • While 59% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they plan to vote for their choice of candidate because they are for him, 35% support their selection because they are against the other candidates.  Astorino is viewed by a majority of his backers, 57%, as the anti-Cuomo candidate.  In contrast, 74% of Cuomo’s support is an affirmative vote for him.
  • Governor Cuomo, 47%, has a double-digit lead over Astorino, 35%, among likely voters who know about the Moreland Commission controversy.  Voters who have heard of the Moreland Commission controversy comprise 41% of the state’s electorate compared with 45% who said they knew about it last month.
  • Among registered voters, including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Cuomo leads Astorino, 54% to 26%.  Eight percent back Hawkins.  In August, Cuomo outdistanced Astorino, 54% to 23%.  Seven percent supported Hawkins.
  • Governor Cuomo achieves this sizeable lead despite a 42% job approval rating among registered voters in the state.  This matches Cuomo’s lowest score since he took office (Trend).
  • 55% of likely voters have a favorable view of Governor Cuomo, and 39% have an unfavorable one.  Among registered voters, Cuomo’s favorable rating is identical, 55%.  This is little changed from 53% in August (Trend).
  • 33% of likely voters have a positive view of Astorino, and 37% have a negative one.  A notable 31% do not offer an opinion of him.
  • Astorino is better known by state voters.  31% now have a positive impression of the candidate compared with 22% last month.  But, negative impressions of him have also grown.  37% have a negative view of Astorino now while 25% shared this opinion in August.
  • 43% of New York likely voters consider Cuomo to be a moderate.  39% describe him as liberal, and 11% view Cuomo as a conservative.  Similar proportions of registered voters describe Cuomo in these terms.  Voters’ impressions of Cuomo’s ideology are little changed from July (Trend).
  • 45% of likely voters view Astorino as a conservative.  23% call him a moderate, and only 7% describe him as a liberal.  25% are unsure.  The proportion of registered voters who view Astorino as a conservative has grown.  40% now share this view, up from 27% in July.  At that time, a plurality, 46%, was unsure.

Most Voters Want Debates… Include all Candidates, Say Nearly Eight in Ten

On the Specifics of Cuomo’s Image

Major Change Needed in State Government

  • 52% of registered voters in New York think state government in Albany needs major changes.  38% say minor changes are required, and 7% report state government is broken and cannot be fixed.  Only 3% believe no changes are needed.  Almost identical proportions of voters held these views in August (Trend).
  • The New York State Senate and Assembly continue to receive poor marks.  Only 26% of registered voters approve of how the State Senate is doing its job (Trend).  A similar 25% approve of how the New York State Assembly is performing (Trend).
  • 50% of voters say, when it comes to the direction of New York, the state is moving in the wrong direction.  43%, though, report it is moving in the right one.  In August, voters divided with 48% saying New York was on the right track and 45% reporting it was on the wrong one (Trend). 

Jobs Top Priority for Nearly One in Four Voters

  • 23% of voters consider jobs to be the top priority for New York.  Education follows with 17%.  16% think economic development is the most important issue facing the state while 15% cite taxes.  Close to three in ten, 29%, choose another issue.  There has been little change on this question since it was last reported in July.

Majority Believes New York is in Recession… Half Think State Has Turned the Corner

  • A majority of registered voters, 57%, reports New York is currently in a recession while 40% say it is not.  In July, similar proportions of registered voters had these views.  60% thought the state was under the recession’s cloud while 36% believed the fog had lifted (Trend).
  • 50% of voters think the worst of the state’s economic problems are over.  44%, though, say the worst is still to come.  New York voters are slightly more pessimistic about the state of the economy.  In July, a majority, 56%, thought better economic days were ahead (Trend). 

Obama Approval Rating in NYS Lowest Since Taking Office

State Voters’ Impressions of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

  • 35% of registered voters in New York State have a positive view of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.  36% have a negative impression, and 28% don’t know him well enough to say.  Not surprisingly, opinions of the New York City mayor vary greatly by region.  He is well-known and well-liked in New York City.  He is largely well-known but not as well-liked in the suburbs surrounding the city.  Nearly half of Upstate voters, 46%, do not have an opinion of him. 

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample and Complete Tables