Moreland & Its Work Largely Unknown to Voters, Who Strongly Want Commission To Continue Investigations

CuomoCredit: Diana Robinson

Moreland & Its Work Largely Unknown to Voters, Who Strongly Want Commission To Continue Investigations

Serious Problem: Corruption in Legislature–82%; Rest of State Govt.–77%

Cuomo Job Rating Edges Up; Overall Rating Better than Specific Issues

Casino Amendment Language Still Influences Voters’ Support of Amendment

Loudonville, NY. While nearly three-quarters of voters have no opinion about the Moreland Commission, appointed by the Governor to investigate public corruption, and less than one-quarter of voters say they are following news about the commission even somewhat closely, by an overwhelming 72-15 percent, voters think the Moreland Commission should continue investigating political corruption, according to a new Siena College Poll of New York voters released today. More than eight in ten voters think corruption in the Legislature is a serious problem, including 40 percent who call it very serious. Similarly, more than three-quarters of voters say that corruption in the rest of state government is serious, with 30 percent saying it’s a very serious problem.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s favorability and re-elect numbers remained little changed from last month, while his overall job performance rating edged back into positive territory. Asked to rate Cuomo’s performance on five specific issues, voters gave him lower job performance ratings on four of the five than his overall job performance rating. Voters remain closely divided on a ‘generic’ question regarding the casino gambling amendment, however, there continues to be significant support for approving the amendment based on the ballot wording.

“Well, New Yorkers may not know what the Moreland Commission is, or what it does, or who its members are. They don’t even rate the Moreland Commission among the top three corruption-busters. But if the choice is for the Moreland Commission to disband or to continue investigating political corruption, the answer is clear. Keep investigating, New Yorkers say, including at least 70 percent of voters from every party and region of the state,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

“Why do voters overwhelmingly support the Moreland Commission continuing to investigate corruption? It may be because voters overwhelmingly say corruption is a serious problem in state government,” Greenberg said. “Corruption in the State Legislature is a serious problem according to 82 percent of voters, while corruption in the rest of state government is seen as a serious problem to nearly as many, 77 percent.”

“When it comes to who’s doing the most to eliminate corruptions in New York, 24 percent of voters say it’s Governor Cuomo, followed by federal prosecutors, 19 percent, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, 13 percent, the Moreland Commission, seven percent, and the State Legislature with four percent,” Greenberg said. “And a strong plurality of voters, 42 percent, says the Legislature is doing the least to eliminate corruption.”

Cuomo Job Performance Rating Up a Little; His Job Ratings on Several Specific Issues are Lower
Cuomo is viewed favorably by 62 percent of voters and unfavorably by 32 percent (from 64-32 percent in September). He has a 52-47 percent job performance rating (up from 49-50 last month). Fifty-two percent are prepared to re-elect him, while 38 percent would prefer someone else (from 52-39 percent in September).

“Cuomo remains personally popular, with a two-to-one favorability rating, and a majority says they are prepared to re-elect him governor next year,” Greenberg said. “His overall job performance rating inched back into positive territory. However, in addressing five specific issues, his job performance ratings are not as strong on four, but on equal rights for New Yorkers his rating is higher.

“When it comes to corruption, state government efficiency, jobs and education, only between 29 and 35 percent of voters say Cuomo is doing an excellent or good job. Between 35 and 41 percent say he’s doing a fair job, and between 20 and 27 percent say he’s doing a poor job,” Greenberg said.

“About one-third of voters are strong Cuomo supporters who give him high grades on virtually every measure. About one-third are strong Cuomo opponents who give him fair to poor grades on virtually every measure. The folks in the middle tend to give Cuomo fair grades on most of the job performance measures but more than two-thirds of them view Cuomo favorably and they are prepared to re-elect him 55-32 percent,” Greenberg said.

Voters Divided on ‘Generic’ Casino Amendment, Support Amendment As it will Appear on Ballot
By a 49-45 percent margin (up from 46-46 percent last month), voters say they would support a constitutional amendment to allow non-Indian, Las Vegas-style casinos in New York. However, when read the wording that will appear on the ballot, support for the amendment increases to 56-40 percent (from 55-42 percent last month).

“It’s clear the wording of the casino amendment that voters will see on their ballots is influential in moving voters to support the amendment, particularly Democrats and New York City voters,” Greenberg said. “The amendment as worded has the support of 56 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents, and is supported by 54 percent of upstaters, 56 percent of New York City voters and 57 percent of downstate suburbanites.”

Favorability Rating for Legislature Rises – Assembly More than Senate
The State Senate is viewed favorably by 41 percent of voters and unfavorably by 47 percent (up from 40-51 percent last month). The State Assembly has a positive 43-41 percent favorability rating, up significantly from 38-49 percent unfavorable last month.

“Even though 82 percent of voters say corruption in the Legislature is a serious problem – down from 92 percent in June – voters’ opinion of each house has improved over the last month, significantly so for the Assembly, which is now viewed slightly more favorably than unfavorably,” Greenberg said. “A majority of Democrats and New York City voters view the Assembly favorably, and a plurality of those groups views the Senate favorably.”

Fracking Continues to Divide Voters with Small Plurality Opposed
Fracking is opposed by 43 percent of voters and supported by 38 percent (down slightly from 45-37 percent opposition last month).

“A majority of Republicans supports fracking moving forward, while it is opposed by a plurality of Democrats and independents. It continues to have the support of a plurality of downstate suburbanites and it continues to be opposed by a plurality of upstaters and New York City voters,” Greenberg said. “Men support fracking by a seven-point plurality, while women oppose it by a 15-point margin.”

Upstaters & Downstaters Have Different Views on Direction of New York State
Voters are evenly divided, 44-44 percent, on whether the state is headed on the right track or headed in the wrong direction (up slightly from 43-46 percent wrong direction last month).

“The tale of two states continues with a solid majority of upstaters, 57 percent, saying the state is headed in the wrong direction, while smaller majorities of New York City and downstate suburban voters say the state is headed on the right track,” Greenberg said. “A majority of Democrats say right track but a majority of Republicans and independents say wrong direction.”

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This Siena College Poll was conducted October 14-16, 2013 by telephone calls to 822 New York State registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of +/-  3.4 percentage points. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party, region and gender to ensure representativeness. Sampling was conducted via random digit dialing to landline and cell phones weighted to reflect known population patterns. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in New York State. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Steve Greenberg at (518) 469-9858. For survey cross-tabs and frequencies:

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