Poll: Cuomo has bipartisan appeal, Astorino popular, Vanderhoef's ratings mixed

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after a

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo after a cabinet meeting in the Red Room at the capitol in Albany. Cuomo is calling a summit to boost the beer and wine industries in New York just months after a similar effort began to try to make New York the nations largest producer of Greek-style yogurt. (Sept. 27, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's popularity is bubbling across ideological and party lines, according to a Siena College poll, and experts say that his widespread approval could help position him for a future run at nationwide office.

The poll of Westchester and Rockland residents commissioned by Newsday found that 70 percent had a favorable view of the Democratic governor. More striking, however, was that 54 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of self-described conservatives gave him a favorable rating.

Cuomo also scored overwhelmingly positive numbers across all religious and age ranges.


PHOTOS: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's latest activities | Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino | U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand


Donald Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, said that the governor's "tremendously high" favorability ratings extends to every part of the state and his ability to appeal to Republicans could come into play in a run on a national ticket.

"If Cuomo ends up running in 2016, this is certainly a case he would make," Levy said.

One poll respondent, Bert Vonwurmb, a 63-year-old Blauvelt resident and registered Republican, said he likes Cuomo and his agenda.

A liberal respondent, Ellen Grabowitz, said Cuomo's ability to tackle all sides of an issue enhances his appeal.

"When you don't take a right-wrong, us-versus-them attitude, I think you do much better," said the 59-year-old Cortlandt Manor resident.

GILLIBRAND MORE POPULAR THAN LONG

One person who may need to work on getting to know voters better, according to the Siena poll, is U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long.

With just weeks before the election, 79 percent of those polled said they "don't know" or had no opinion of the Republican seeking to oust Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

"There really hasn't been any information forthcoming on her," Vonwurmb said of Long.

Levy said he was surprised at Long's lack of name recognition, but attributes it in part to the Republican Party's failure to provide sufficient funding.

Gillibrand, meanwhile, posted a 56 percent favorable rating. A quarter of respondents said they viewed her unfavorably, and 19 percent responded "don't know/no opinion."

ASTORINO POPULAR; VANDERHOEF'S SUPPORT WANES

On the county level, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino managed to reach beyond his Republican Party, getting a 34 percent favorable and a 25 percent unfavorable rating among Democrats. Overall, 45 percent of Westchester residents polled gave him a favorable rating; 22 percent unfavorable, with 33 percent falling in the "don't know/no opinion" camp.

The poll was taken before Westchester County Legis. Bill Ryan announced on Tuesday his intention to run for Astorino's seat next year.

Levy said Astorino's numbers are "really strong" and they could catapult him toward statewide office.

"Rob Astorino is someone who the spotlight will be on," Levy said.

The news for Astorino's counterpart across the river was not so rosy.

Residents of cash-strapped Rockland gave retiring County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef a 43-44 percent favorable versus unfavorable rating.

Earlier this month, Vanderhoef announced that he would not seek re-election next year after serving out his fifth term.

Similarly, the way residents feel about their county executives extended to the direction they feel their local government is headed. Fifty-six percent of Westchester residents said the county was going in the right direction and 32 percent said it was going the wrong way, while the numbers were 35 percent and 59 percent in Rockland.

The Siena poll also found:

• Fifty-three percent of respondents said New York State is on the right track, but only 30 percent of conservatives agreed.

• Only 18 percent of respondents gave Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is embroiled in ethics investigations, a favorable rating.

The poll of 627 Rockland and Westchester registered voters, conducted Oct. 11-17 by the Siena College Research Institute, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

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