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Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets business group backing, maintains lead in poll

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 15, 2014.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sept. 15, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

COLONIE -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo snagged the endorsement of New York's leading business lobby Wednesday as a new statewide poll showed his lead over Republican Rob Astorino diminishing, but still strong.

The New York State Business Council said it was applauding the Democrat's record over the last four years rather than rejecting Astorino, the Westchester County executive. Council president Heather Briccetti said it endorsed Cuomo because of his push for a property-tax cap, a reduction in manufacturing taxes and a reduction of the rate of state-spending growth.

"One of the fundamental shifts in state government over the past few years is we're not warring with the business community," Cuomo said after getting the endorsement at an Albany-area energy company. "We're not jockeying with the business community. We're working in partnership with the business community."

At the event, Cuomo promised, if he is re-elected, he'll install 6,000 miles of fiber-optic cable to expand broadband access across upstate New York.

Cuomo and Astorino frequently have sparred over the direction of the state's economy. Cuomo notes the state has increased jobs, but Astorino points out that New York's rate of growth trails most states.

Jessica Proud, Astorino's spokeswoman, said it was "absurd" for the business lobby to back "a governor who has presided over the highest taxes in the nation, the worst economic outlook, one of the most unfriendly business climates and the most people leaving a state."

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, Christopher Moss, Astorino's running mate, said his first task as lieutenant governor would be to convene an anti-heroin summit. Moss, the Chemung County sheriff, said he'd do so within the first month on the job.

Meanwhile, a new Quinnipiac University survey said Cuomo leads Astorino 51 percent to 31 percent among likely voters. The 20-point divide is the closest margin yet in a statewide poll. A Siena College poll on Sept. 26 gave Cuomo a 29-point lead among likely voters.

"People are starting to look at this race in real way," Astorino told WGDJ-AM in Albany. "We have been making progress every stop of the way."

Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins garnered 9 percent in the poll.

Quinnipiac's survey also showed the race for state attorney general tightening. It found incumbent Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, a Democrat, leading Republican challenger John Cahill 46 percent to 34 percent in the closest statewide contest at this point. Cahill, like Cuomo, was endorsed by the Business Council Wednesday.

Democratic state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli held a 56 percent to 28 percent lead over Republican Bob Antonacci, the Onondaga County comptroller, the survey said.

The poll questioned 1,153 likely voters from Oct. 1 to Monday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.With Michael Gormley

State & Region