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Long IslandPolitics

Poll: NYers favor assault-weapons ban

A Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the weapon believed to

A Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, the weapon believed to have been used in the Newtown school shooting that claimed 26 lives, is shown in this file photo. (March 27, 2006) Photo Credit: AP

ALBANY -- New Yorkers overwhelmingly favor prohibiting assault weapons, according to a new poll released Thursday -- two days after the state toughened its assault-weapons ban.

The Siena College survey found that 73 percent of voters statewide favored a ban signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, while 26 percent opposed it.

By 91 percent to 8 percent, voters also approved of stricter penalties both for people who illegally buy guns and for those who use guns on school grounds.

On Tuesday, Cuomo signed a new law that addresses those and other issues in a comprehensive gun-control bill. New York became the first state in the nation to tighten its gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre on Dec. 14.

"While this poll was conducted prior, during and after Cuomo's gun proposal was made public and enacted, New Yorkers -- who view the National Rifle Association unfavorably by a 57 percent to 36 percent margin -- overwhelmingly support the ban on assault weapons and nearly unanimously support increasing penalties for purchasing illegal guns and using guns on school grounds," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.

Siena surveyed 676 voters across New York on Jan. 10 and from Jan. 13-15. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

New York voters opposed the idea of employing armed guards in schools, 52 percent to 46 percent.

"Having armed guards in schools is opposed by a narrow majority, although it is supported by a majority of Republicans, upstaters and voters under 35 years old," Greenberg said.

By 69 percent to 30 percent, voters said they opposed protecting schoolchildren by "training and arming teachers."

OTHER FINDINGS of the Siena College poll

Tougher exams for teacher certification

76 percent in favor 23 percent opposed

Decriminalizing possession in public view of up to

15 grams of marijuana:

62 percent in favor 30 percent opposed

Early voting before Election Day:

67 percent in favor 30 percent opposed

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's job performance

60 percent "excellent" or "good"

38 percent "fair" or "poor"

Do minorities in New York experience discrimination?

Yes, 69 percent No, 26 percent Don't know, 5 percent of voters -- including 91 percent of blacks, 81 percent of Latinos and 65 percent of whites

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