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Cuomo’s mass transit approval ratings drop, poll says

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Yad Vashem

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at the Yad Vashem -- The World Holocaust Remembrance Center on March 5, 2017. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Mehahem Kahan

As New York’s mass transit declines, so has Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s approval rating.

Just 46 percent of New York State voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing as governor, and 38 percent disapprove, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac University out Wednesday. And many New Yorkers are sharply critical of his performance when it comes to mass-transit issues, the poll shows.

Overall, that’s the governor’s lowest approval rating since a dip to a 43-43 split in the percentage of those who approve and disapprove of Cuomo’s performance, his all-time lowest, in September of 2015, according to Quinnipiac.

The poll marks a drop of 6 percentage points since March, when the governor held a 52 percent approval rating, according to Quinnipiac.

The new poll surveyed 1,137 New York voters through in-person and telephone interviews from July 5 through Monday, the first day of the governor’s so-called “summer of hell” at Penn Station as Manhattan-bound commuters endure service alterations caused by a long-delayed track repairs at the busy midtown terminal.

In the face of the transit woes, more than one in six New Yorkers give the governor a failing grade for his handling of the MTA, the parent agency of the Long Island Rail Road. Just one in 25 residents of the state give Cuomo an “A” when it comes to the MTA.

In New York City, nearly a quarter of those polled — 23 percent — gave Cuomo an “F,” while 28 percent gave him a “C.” Twenty-seven percent gave Cuomo a “B.”

“One ticking time bomb for Gov. Cuomo is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Voters don’t give the Gov good marks on handling that. A couple more derailments or just overall weariness with traveling on the trains – could derail his political prospects,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Long Island Rail Road riders are enduring a reduced number of peak-hour trains to Penn this summer as Amtrak makes critical repairs to the station’s aging track infrastructure. But even with three of Penn’s 21 tracks out of service to accommodate that work, LIRR commutes seem to have gone on without major incident.

“Addressing transit has to be a top priority for the governor, especially for New Yorkers — transportation is the lifeline of any city,” said Christina Greer, an associate professor of political science at Fordham University. “If I can’t get to work on time, or I can’t pick up my kids, that’s costing me money. That’s frustrating for New Yorkers.”

Despite the subways’ woes, Cuomo, a Democrat, has a 52 percent approval rate among city residents.

Fifty-six percent of New Yorkers said Cuomo would not make a good president, compared with 34 percent who felt he would be a good fit for the Oval Office, according to the poll. At the same time, by a margin of 54 percent to 40 percent, New Yorkers said their governor should “become a national leader challenging the policies of the Trump administration.”

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