Going into his re-election year, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is enjoying his highest approval rating ever, according to a new Newsday/Siena Research Institute poll.
The Siena survey also found that Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has hit a new high -- suggesting that both county leaders are benefiting from the public's perception of their performances during superstorm Sandy, according to Don Levy, director of the Siena poll. Long Islanders also gave state leaders record-high approval ratings.
According to Siena, 51 percent of Nassau County residents said they had a "favorable" view of Mangano, while 29 percent said "unfavorable."
Levy called the figure impressive. "For Ed Mangano to be a plus-22 [percentage points] going into an election year is a pretty strong position," he said.
He noted that Mangano is even faring well among enrolled Democrats -- 44 percent of Democrats surveyed gave the county executive a thumbs up, 36 percent a thumbs down.
Siena surveyed 381 Nassau residents on Jan. 3 and Jan. 6-9 for Newsday. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Just 13 months earlier, in December 2011, it was a different story: 38 percent gave Mangano a favorable rating, 34 percent unfavorable. That was his low point in the survey since he was elected in 2009.
Rosaleen Savage, 74, a retiree living in Floral Park, said she believed Mangano was "not doing badly" and lauded his "active" response to superstorm Sandy.
"The cleanup response was very good," said Savage, who has lived in Nassau County for more than 30 years. "I'm not sure how big of a role he played in all of that, but it seemed to me that he was doing his job and trying to get things back to normal as soon as possible."
Many elected leaders' ratings improved after the storm.
Among Suffolk voters, Bellone scored a record-high 49 percent approval rating; 19 percent said unfavorable. Before the storm, it was 44-23.
Edward Flint, 64, of Huntington, who has lived in Suffolk for the past 26 years, said he believed Bellone has aptly handled the county's economic challenges.
"I think he's growing into the job," said Flint, who works as an attorney in Nassau. "He came on at a tough period when the economy is in shambles. . . . I think he's navigated the waters well, and I am looking forward to what he can do moving forward."
Siena surveyed 426 Suffolk voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points.
Despite the county executives' ratings, just 38 percent of voters said Long Island was on the right track -- although that's up 10 points from June 2010 -- while 53 percent said it was heading in the wrong direction.
Fifty percent of voters said New York State was on the right track (a slight drop from October), and 39 percent said it was heading in the wrong direction.
Cuomo had a favorable rating from 74 percent, with 21 percent unfavorable. This is the Democrat's best showing in the Siena poll since February 2011, when he hit 73 percent.
Schumer had a 60-30 favorability rating. His previous high among Islanders was 58 percent in September 2009.
Gillibrand had a 56-20 favorability rating, matching her rating from October, just before she won re-election.
The statewide numbers have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
With Laura Figueroa