ALBANY — Three months after his record-setting re-election victory, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has hit his lowest approval ratings since he took office in 2011, according to the Siena Research Institute poll released Monday.
The third-term governor's favorability fell to a negative 43-50 percent, down from a positive 51-43 percent in December. Voters questioned also disapproved of the Democrat's job performance. That rating was 35 percent approving and 64 percent disapproving, down from 43-56 percent in December.
“It is a dramatic drop in both ratings from last month,” said Steven Greenberg of the Siena poll. “Politically, Cuomo’s ratings drop is across the board, as he fell with Democrats, Republicans and independents. Geographically, his drop was much bigger downstate – New York City and the suburbs – than upstate, where his ratings were significantly lower previously.”
In the New York City suburbs, including Long Island, Cuomo was seen favorably by 43 percent of voters questioned and unfavorably by 53 percent.
Cuomo said he hasn't "looked at" the poll.
An aide blamed the poll itself. “Siena doesn’t always get it right,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.
The poll “doesn’t reflect the sentiment of New Yorkers," Azzopardi said. "We’ve had the most productive month in history that finally saw the passage of popular, long-stalled legislation and we’re going to continue to move New York forward.”
Since January, Cuomo has released his proposed 2019-20 budget and shared credit with the State Legislature, controlled by Democrats, for the passage of liberal measures, including a stronger state abortion law, more protection for transgender people, more gun control, and a Child Victims Act that will allow victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers from incidents decades ago.
But during that time, Cuomo was also criticized for failings in the New York City subways and the Long Island Rail Road, which is run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for which he appoints key members.
A week ago, Cuomo said an unexpected $2.3 billion hole in state income tax revenues from December could force potential cuts in his planned increases for education and health care and threaten a middle-class tax cut.
He also continued his increasingly pointed attacks on President Donald Trump, on Republicans who controlled the Senate until last fall’s elections, conservatives in general and the Catholic Church and orthodox Jewish groups during his fight for the Child Victims Act. Cuomo was also criticized for lighting up the Empire State Building in pink in celebration of the abortion law, which he considers a reproductive right for women.
The poll questioned 778 registered New York State voters from Feb. 4 to 7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who announced her candidacy for president in January, also saw a drop in popularity in the poll. She was seen favorably by 44 percent of New York voters, and unfavorably by 34 percent. That’s down from 48-31 percent in January.
“Early on, her presidential run is not paying dividends with her home state voters,” Greenberg said. “She only has a 55-24 percent favorability rating with Democrats, down from 61-19 percent last month and 62-12 percent in January 2018.”
U.S. Sen Charles Schumer, who has been embroiled in a fight against Trump over the highly unpopular federal government shutdown, also saw a drop in his popularity. Siena said Schumer’s popularity was 47-46 percent, down from 53-39 percent in January.
Greenberg had no comment on the Cuomo’s aide’s criticism of the poll.