Poll shows new belief in climate change

Dec 4, 2012

A new poll finds that, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, more than two-thirds of New Yorkers say they now believe in climate change.

The poll, by Siena College, finds 69 percent of voters from every part of the state think the severe storms , including Sandy and Irene over the past two years, are because of global climate change, says poll spokesman Steve Greenberg.

 “There is no doubt that the voters of this state, that the people of New York, believe that climate change is impacting their lives in a serious way,” said Greenberg.

“Only 24 percent think that these are random, isolated weather patterns.”

The poll also shows 83 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of  independents  believe that climate change is happening. Even registered Republicans are split on the issue, with 46 percent saying the storms are the result of global warming, and  44 percent saying that they are just isolated weather events.

Governor Cuomo, in the aftermath of Sandy, has said that whatever the reasons, he thinks climate change is a reality and steps need to be taken to protect New York from flooding in the future.

For that, and other reasons, the poll shows voters give Governor Cuomo high marks for his handling of the aftermath of the destructive storm.  Nearly two-thirds of responsdents think Cuomo did an excellent or good job.

Also, 61  percent thought President Obama’s responded well, and 55 percent  gave New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg  a good rating for his job performance post Sandy.

Even the MTA and FEMA got good marks.

Public utilities did not fare quite so well, with less than half saying Con Edison did a good job restoring electricity, and only 20 percent approving of the Long Island Power Authority, or LIPA’s, handling of the storm aftermath. Half of LIPA customers lost their power for over a week after the storm.

Governor Cuomo harshly condemned the utilities in the days after Sandy. He even appointed a special investigatory panel which has already subpoenaed the records of Con Ed and LIPA.

Cuomo’s own father, former Governor Mario Cuomo, created the Long Island Power Authority in the late 1980’s, over his opposition to a nuclear power plant on Long Island.

LIPA is now a state authority, and its board is appointed by the state’s governors, now Governor Andrew Cuomo, as well as legislative leaders.

LIPA still had several vacancies on its board, nearly two years into Cuomo’s first term.   Since the storm, the Authority’s chair, as well as two other top LIPA officials and one trustee, have resigned.

Greenberg says voters right now aren’t making any connections between Cuomo’s performance post Sandy, and the state authority that is responsible for power on Long Island.

“Voters are going to have to sift through all of that as we move on in time,” said Greenberg.

The poll comes as Governor Cuomo visited Washington DC for the first time since becoming governor, to lobby for billions of dollars in storm relief funds.