Poll: Half of NYers still not following Moreland case, but more not pleased

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Spin Cycle

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ALBANY -- Nearly half of New Yorkers still aren’t following the Moreland Commission corruption conflict in Albany, but the latest poll shows the growing number who are don’t like what they’ve heard.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday said 50 percent of voters disapprove of the way Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is handling ethics in government. In May, 48 percent approved of way Cuomo was handling ethics, and 52 percent felt that way in February.

“Voters say he’s part of the problem, not part of the solution,” said Quinnipiac’s Maurice Carroll.

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The poll found that 46 percent of voters still aren’t following the case, but twice as many voters are aware of the conflict than in May. Wednesday’s poll found 51 percent of voters have read or heard about the Moreland case, up from 24 percent in the May 22 poll.

Voters who knew enough about the case to have an opinion felt 37-8 percent that the Cuomo administration interfered with the Moreland Commission on public corruption.

“When people know about it, they don’t like it,” Carroll said. “Will they know about it? The U.S. attorney is very important. Will he keep it alive? If he keeps it alive, it will grow in political awareness.”

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is investigating the abrupt closing of the corruption commission by Cuomo after a year of investigating Albany. Press reports have carried accusations that Cuomo’s top aides interfered with the commission which Cuomo created as it considered investigations into the governor’s donors and the advertising company used by his campaign.

Cuomo says his aides, including chief of staff Lawrence Schwartz, simply provided necessary and appropriate advice the commission could accept or reject. The commission mostly focused on the Legislature.

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But the poll also shows the conflict hasn’t hurt Cuomo’s huge lead over Republican candidate Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive.

“Albany is mesmerized by this, ‘the governor kills his own commission’ story,” Carroll said. “But it didn’t apparently penetrate into the public.”

Cuomo’s favorability rating remains consistent at 55 percent of voters, although his unfavorable rating at 36 percent was up from 30 percent in May and 28 percent in February.

Cuomo’s job approval rating was 57 percent in Wednesday’s poll, consistent with May and better than most governors nationwide. But Cuomo’s job approval rating is down from 63 percent in February. His lowest rating was 53 percent, in June 2013.

Cuomo’s government and campaign offices had no immediate comment.

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Cuomo’s Democratic primary opponent, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout; and Cuomo’s Republican opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, are trying to make their criticism of Cuomo’s role resonate with voters, but have little campaign cash to use TV ads to carry their message.

The poll questioned 1,034 voters Aug. 14-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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