Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks as supporters gather in Manhattan...

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks as supporters gather in Manhattan after the polls close on Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in winning re-election drew 1 million fewer votes than in 2010 -- a roughly one-third drop in support that analysts said partly reflected the national Republican wave but also a lack of enthusiasm for the incumbent Democrat.

Cuomo defeated Republican Rob Astorino, 54 percent to 41 percent, according to complete but unofficial results -- but Cuomo's percentage dropped more than 8 points from four years ago. Democrats who talked about an "enthusiasm gap" for his re-election in the final months of the campaign appeared to be right.

Experts said the results will undercut any claims Cuomo may make about a mandate.

"He won decisively, but not exceptionally," longtime state political analyst Gerald Benjamin said of Cuomo. "It's certainly not a mandate when you lose one-third of the people who formerly supported you."

Turnout appeared to be about 3.55 million, down significantly from the 4.8 million who voted four years ago and one of the lowest totals of any New York gubernatorial election since 1942 during World War II.

Cuomo's 1.94-million-vote total, according to unofficial returns, was the lowest for a winner since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's election in 1930, according to the state legislative library at the State Capitol. Cuomo got 2.91 million votes in 2010.

Astorino's unofficial total of about 1.45 million votes was about the same number of raw votes as Carl Paladino, the GOP candidate four years ago.

The year began with some Democrats saying Cuomo wanted to top the 62.6 percent he garnered in 2010 or even the 65 percent his father, Mario Cuomo, received in 1986, his first run for re-election. By the final week of the campaign, Cuomo advisers were downplaying expectations, saying the governor would see percentages in the low 50s.

As the results came in Tuesday night, some on the political left expressed anger at Cuomo, who they said did nothing to help Democrats in State Senate and congressional races in New York -- contests in which Republicans scored big victories.

Benjamin, also an associate vice president at SUNY New Paltz, said Cuomo can't be blamed for a national Republican trend this year and said the governor deployed a strategy that was sound for winning, but not rolling up big totals.

Cuomo has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. But Benjamin said Tuesday's outcome "doesn't do anything to advance him nationally," because Astorino was underfunded and New York is reliably Democratic.

Cuomo raised about $45 million for his re-election campaign -- roughly 10 times more than Astorino, the Westchester County executive. A 13-point win over a largely unknown foe "is not a great showing for someone with $40 million in the bank," said Michael Dawidziak, a Bohemia-based political consultant who works mostly with Republicans.

Michael Tobman, a Brooklyn-based political consultant, noted Cuomo probably alienated some on the right by securing passage of a new gun-control law, legalizing same-sex marriages and pushing to strengthen abortion rights. Cuomo angered some on the left by creating big business tax cuts and not helping Democrats gain the State Senate, Tobman said.

Public-employee unions and teachers were irked by the governor's demand for less lucrative contracts and pensions, and more stringent evaluations.

"The governor now has a record that some people disagreed with," Tobman said. Given that, Tobman called Cuomo's showing "a big win."

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