Polls says state split on gun control by region

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ALBANY -- A poll released yesterday shows the geographic divide over New York's new gun control law, with strong support in downstate urban and suburban areas and heavier opposition across the rural upstate region.

The Siena College poll shows 65 percent support statewide for the more restrictive gun law, including 82 percent in New York City and 61 percent in its suburbs, including Long Island.

Half of the upstate respondents supported the new law, with 55 percent opposition in the 14 counties of the Southern Tier.

"There's no question about it," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said of the geographic divide in New York on guns.

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It also reflects Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives and apparently urban vs. rural sentiments, he said. New York City and its suburbs, including Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties, account for almost 65 percent of the state's population.

The poll of 1,154 registered voters was conducted by telephone from Jan. 27-31. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

According to the poll, Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's favorability rating dropped from 71 percent to 67 percent statewide since he introduced and pushed through the law in two days, with 42 percent of voters and 72 percent of Republicans saying it was rushed without adequately considering public opinion.

However, 56 percent of voters, including 73 percent of Democrats, agreed that the law was needed and, although passed quickly, it was the right thing to do.

"There is no question that Andrew Cuomo spent some of the political capital he had built up in two years as governor," Greenberg said.

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