New York gave Gov. Andrew Cuomo a giant Valentine on Monday — but what makes people love him so much after just six weeks on the job?
Cuomo is earning raves from New Yorkers who trust him to “do the right thing” for the state budget, with a whopping 77 percent viewing him favorably, according to a statewide Siena College poll released Monday.
Considering he hasn’t had much time to really solve many state troubles — No. 1 on the list being the budget deficit — not everyone is joining the love fest, including the Democratic governor’s most famous rival.
“He’s talking the talk, but we don’t know if he’s walking the walk,” said Carl Paladino, the Republican businessman who ran against Cuomo in November.
“It’s been too short to tell,” Bob Fraker, 77, of Midwood, said of his tenure. “Give him a chance before you make up your mind.”
Some of Cuomo’s supporters like what they’ve seen already. The former state attorney general is tackling the $10 billion budget deficit by proposing to cut education spending by $1.5 billion and Medicaid by $1 billion. Meanwhile, he has curried favor with state Republican leaders by refusing to raise taxes.
“State government is broken … They may not agree with him on every aspect – but they love the fact there’s no gimmicks with him,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
Also, following the scandal-laden administrations of Eliot Spitzer and David Paterson can’t hurt.
“He seems to be confronting the third-rail constituencies like the unions,” said Sam Eckelmann, 54, of Murray Hill. “Compared to Spitzer and Paterson, it’s night and day.”
Because of his public support, he can use it to get what he wants from Albany pols when it comes to the budget, ethics reform and other issues, said political analyst Alan Chartock.
“He’s got everyone on the run right now,” Chartock said. “If they see poll numbers around 75 percent, they’ve got to fear him.”
State GOP Party Chairman Ed Cox said Republican legislators approve of Cuomo’s pragmatic approach to governing.
“He is taking a very strong, fiscally conservative stance, which is a typical Republican position and is what we campaigned on,” Cox said. “He certainly has our support.”
(With Theresa Juva)