Just one month after enjoying his highest approval ratings in his current term, Governor Cuomo's numbers turned downward in the latest Siena College Poll. The same survey also shows most voters are still not familiar with those looking to unseat him in November.
The Siena poll reveals that Cuomo's favorability rating fell from 62 percent in January to 53 percent this month, while 40 percent of those responding expressed an unfavorable opinion of the governor. That's up ten points from the previous month.
Cuomo's job approval rating, meanwhile, fell below 50 percent favorable, where it stood in the first month of the year. It fell five points to 45 percent while 53 percent responding disapproved of Cuomo's job performance. That's up five points from January.
Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, says there was little change in how voters view the Legislature and Governor Cuomo's policies. While some might think the corruption trial of former longtime Cuomo aide Joseph Percoco may be influencing the numbers, Greenberg offered another idea as to what might be turning his numbers downward.
That would be the governor's plan to sue the federal government over recently approved tax reform.
"That has dropped this month, support for that," he said. "It's because New Yorkers' views on the tax law has changed. They're not as negative now as they were in January."
Greenberg says polls are a mere snapshot in time. At this time, Cuomo's support for re-election is at 50 percent. Helping his cause at this time is what Greenberg pointed out was a widespread unfamiliarity with the Republicans looking to unseat him in November.
"State Senator John DeFrancisco of Syracuse is viewed favorably by 10 percent of New Yorkers, unfavorably by nine percent and 81 percent don't know enough about him to even have an opinion," he said. "The same is true of former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, viewed favorably by seven percent, unfavorably by nine percent and 84 percent of voters don't know enough about him to even have an opinion."
The survey was conducted February 5 to 8 of this year and involved calls to 823 households statewide.
A third Republican candidate now running, former Pataki-era housing commissioner Joseph H. Holland of Auburn, was not included in the survey. The poll did include Brian Kolb, who received an eight-percent favorableness rating but last Friday withdrew from the race.