Gov. Andrew Cuomo's fourth year as governor has begun with his favorability and job performance ratings back at their highest levels in nearly a year, according to a new Siena College poll.
Voters overwhelmingly support many of the governor's proposals outlined in his State of the State address earlier this month, including the legalization of medical marijuana for patients suffering from serious illness.
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Cuomo is viewed favorably by 66 percent of voters and unfavorably by 28 percent. His job performance rating is at 54-46 percent, and 57 percent of voters said they are prepared to re-elect him. Thirty-three percent of voters said they would prefer someone else.
"As he enters his re-election year, Cuomo is sitting pretty. His favorability rating is the strongest it’s been since February. His job performance rating is the best it’s been since March. And more voters are prepared to re-elect him than at any time since last January," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
When asked about Cuomo's two likely Republican opponents in this year's election, three-quarters of voters said they do not know Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, and 57 percent said they have an unfavorable impression of Donald Trump.
Twenty-eight percent of voters support the governor's proposal for a pilot program to allow the use of medical marijuana in up to 20 hospitals, while 49 percent of voters think the governor should skip that step and legalize medical marijuana statewide. When it comes to the recreational use of marijuana, 54 percent of voters oppose legalizing it while 41 percent support it, according to the poll.
Many of the governor's recent proposals earned the support of more than two-thirds of voters, including: increasing penalties on young voters who text while driving, revoking driver's licenses for three DWI convictions, instituting universal pre-K and approving a $2 billion education technology bond act.
As Cuomo enjoys his popularity, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's favorability rating among New York voters has dropped, from 63 percent in November to 49 percent, in the wake of the recent Bridgegate scandal.
"Christie’s image with New Yorkers – particularly Democrats and independents – has hit a major speed bump," Greenberg said. "Will he be able to navigate the serious repair work he has in front of him?"
The poll was conducted Jan. 12-16 to 808 New York State registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.