ALBANY Half of New York voters believe the state should delay implementation of the Common Core, according to a poll released Tuesday.
Siena College found 50 percent those polled support a two-year moratorium on the more-stringent education standards, compared to 38 percent who said they should "continue to be implemented as quickly as possible." Support for a moratorium was strongest upstate, where 63 percent backed a two-year pause, according to the survey.
New Yorkers are split on the merits of the Common Core, the poll found. More than a third -- 36 percent -- said the standards are "too demanding" for students, while 23 percent said they are "about right" and 24 percent opting for "not demanding enough."
"As the controversy around the Common Core and its implementation continues to swirl among politicians, education advocates, parents, and teachers, New York voters remain divided on whether or not the new standards are too demanding, and whether or not those standards will better prepare students for college or the workplace after graduation," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement.
The state Education Department first began implementing the standards last school year, but quickly faced significant criticism from teachers, parents and students who say the rollout of the Common Core has been botched and rushed. Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have piled on, with legislative leaders calling for a two-year moratorium on using Common Core-based tests in teacher evaluations and student-placement decisions.
Earlier this month, the state Board of Regents voted to delay certain graduation requirements for five years, with this year's fourth graders now the first to have to meet Common Core-based requirements to graduate. This year's ninth grade class had previously been first in line.
Meanwhile, several statewide politicians saw their favorability ratings drop in Siena's February poll, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to the poll, 60 percent of New York voters said they had a favorable view of Cuomo, down from 66 percent last month. Thirty-five percent said they had an unfavorable view, up from 28 percent in January.
The survey was conducted over a five-day period that began Feb. 16, the day Cuomo announced a controversial plan to allow prisoners to take free college courses.
But Cuomo still fares well when matched up with his potential Republican challengers, Siena found. In a hypothetical race against Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino -- who has said he will soon announce a decision on whether to run -- Cuomo holds a 42 percentage point lead, down from 48 points last month. Against celebrity billionaire Donald Trump, Cuomo holds a 44 point lead, also down from 48 points in January.
A total of 802 New York voters were polled by phone and the survey holds a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points, according to Siena.