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Poll shows deep mistrust of state pols

New Yorkers were polled about their suspicions about

New Yorkers were polled about their suspicions about local politicians just after two high-profile federal indictments, including one involving New York State Sen. Malcolm Smith, (D-Queens), earlier this month. (Dec. 8, 2008) (Credit: AP )

New Yorkers hold a high level suspicion of their elected leaders, according to a poll released Monday.

More 80 percent of those surveyed by Siena College say they expect more arrests of state legislators in the near future. And, perhaps underscoring the depth of mistrust, about one-third say their legislator could be arrested. The poll also found a slight dip in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s approval ratings.

The poll was taken just after two high-profile federal indictments earlier this month. In one, prosecutors charged state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) and five others in a bribery scheme to rig a spot for Smith in the Republican primary for New York City mayor. The second alleged that Assemb. Eric Stevenson (D-Bronx) accepted bribes to write legislation to protect certain owners of adult day-care businesses.

Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg called New Yorkers level of mistrust “staggering.”

“Clearly, the recent arrests have eroded confidence in the Legislature,” Greenberg said. “In fact, voters are closely divided with 50 percent saying most legislators are ‘honest and law-abiding’ and 47 percent saying most ‘cannot be trusted.’”

Cuomo’s ratings continued to decline slightly. Siena says 62 percent of those surveyed have a favorable rating of the governor, with 33 percent unfavorable. While that might be the envy of many an elected leader, it’s the fourth straight month Cuomo’s numbers have declined in the Siena poll. In December, Cuomo enjoyed a 72-21 advantage.

“Drip, drip, drip. That seems to be what’s happening to Cuomo’s approval ratings,” Greenberg said.

Siena surveyed 811 New York voters between April 14-18. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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