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Tale of Two polls: Cuomo's Popularity Drops Slightly in New Survey

11:57 PM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
Governor Andrew Cuomo; AP Photo
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By Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY -- A poll Monday showed a slight drop in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's popularity after the adoption last month of the nation's toughest gun-control law.

The Siena poll was in conflict with a Quinnipiac University poll last week that showed a precipitous drop in Cuomo's approval rating following the gun measure.

The Siena poll said Cuomo's approval slipped from 71 percent to 67 percent over the past month. The Quinnipiac poll said it fell from 74 percent to 59 percent.

The Siena poll showed broad support for the controversial gun law, which the Legislature hastily adopted and Cuomo signed Jan. 15. The Quinnipiac poll showed voters split.

The Siena poll said voters supported the gun law 65 percent to 30 percent. Cuomo, a Democrat, has been one of the most popular governors in the country, and his approval had moved little since he took office in 2011.

The Siena poll did show Cuomo's popularity take a significant hit upstate and with Republicans because of the gun law. For the first time since taking office, more Republicans (54 percent) had an unfavorable view of Cuomo than had a favorable view (42 percent).

In upstate, Cuomo's favorability dropped to 54 percent, down from 61 percent last month, the poll said.

"There is no question that Andrew Cuomo spent some of the political capital he had built up in two years as governor with the recent passage of New York's new gun control law," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. "On all three measures-favorability, job performance and re-electability-Cuomo's support among voters dropped a little over the last few weeks."

After the Quinnipiac poll, Cuomo said he wasn't concerned about his popularity falling. He said the law would save laws.

"We are not here to duck the tough issues. We are here to take on the tough issues," Cuomo told reporters at the Capitol. "I said to my colleagues, they elect us to lead and they elect us to solve the problems that have dogged this state and this society for many, many years."

The state Rifle and Pistol Association said Tuesday that it was filing a lawsuit against the state over the law.

New Yorkers were divided on another divisive issue facing Cuomo: hydrofracking. Voters across the state and in the Southern Tier were split on the controversial drilling practice.

Hydrofracking has been hold since 2008, and Cuomo hasn't decided whether to allow it. If it moved forward, it would be largely targeted for the Marcellus Shale rock formation that spans the Southern Tier.

A plurality of voters supported another controversial Cuomo initiative: legalizing private casinos.

By a 48 percent to 42 percent margin, voters favored a constitutional amendment to allow casinos in New York. The support was down slightly from last month: 52 percent to 43 percent.

The Siena poll was conducted Jan. 27-31 to 1,154 voters. It had a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

For more information on the poll, visit http://www.siena.edu/pages/1167.asp

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