By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's re-election support in upstate New York has eroded over the past four months, a Siena College poll Monday found.
The poll found that by a 52 percent to 42 percent margin, upstate voters "prefer someone else" to the Democratic governor in 2014, when he will seek re-election. Cuomo has faced backlash over a gun-control law passed in January, mainly from upstate voters.
It's been a precipitous drop. Cuomo's re-election support among upstate voters was 57 percent to 34 percent last December. It was 47 percent for "someone else" to 45 percent for Cuomo last month, said Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster.
Greenberg said the results are indicative of Cuomo's falling popularity in recent months, although it's been most striking upstate.
"Four small drops in a row suddenly becomes a significant drop. And that's what we've seen with the governor on his favorable/unfavorable, his job performance and his re-elect," Greenberg said. "All three of those measure have come down month by month by month."
Cuomo had a 62 percent to 33 percent favorability rating statewide, the poll found, down from 72 percent to 21 percent last December.
His numbers are strongest downstate, which is dominated by Democratic voters. New York City voters said they would support Cuomo's re-election 65 percent to 29 percent, compared 53 percent to 40 percent in the downstate suburbs.
Gun-rights groups have held three protests at the Capitol in opposition to the law, and some police organizations have also questioned it.
"I think there's no question that the gun issue eroded considerable support that the governor previously enjoyed among Republicans and among upstate voters," Greenberg said.
No Republican candidates have come forward to challenge Cuomo, who was elected in 2010. Some have been mentioned, including Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro and Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.
Cuomo would be a formidable foe: He had more than $22 million in his campaign coffers as of January, and New York has twice as many enrolled Democrats than Republicans.
Cuomo has praised lawmakers for supporting the gun-control law passed Jan. 15 and has said it would save lives. He has knocked the inability of Congress to reach a deal on federal gun-control legislation.
"In politics we have to be willing to take on the extremists, otherwise we're going to have paralysis-and that's what we are seeing in Washington," Cuomo said earlier this month. "You're seeing a government paralyzed by the extremists."
The Siena poll was conducted April 14-18 to 811 New York registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.
For more information on the poll, visit: www.Siena.edu/SRI/SNY