By 2-to-1, New Yorkers Support SAFE Act & Banning Assault Weapon Sales Nationally

NY state building

By 2-to-1, New Yorkers Support SAFE Act & Banning Assault
Weapon Sales Nationally; Two-Thirds Oppose Arming Teachers
Cuomo – Despite Job Performance Rating Slip – Is Strongly Favored By
Dems Over Nixon (66-19%); Has 2-to-1 Leads Over Both DeFrancisco &
Molinaro (Half of Reps Don’t Know Who They’d Support in that Primary)
Trump Remains Solidly Under Water with Voters; Still Strong with Reps

Loudonville, NY. Five years after its passage, the New York SAFE Act remains very popular with voters, who now support it 61-28 percent (up from 59-33 percent in October 2015). Voters strongly to overwhelmingly support six measures to address guns and/or school safety – three passed by the State Senate and three passed by the State Assembly – though none have yet passed both houses. By a 65-32 percent margin, voters support a ban on the sale of assault weapons nationally. And voters oppose, 69-28 percent, allowing teachers to be licensed to carry concealed firearms in school, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s favorability rating held steady, though his job performance and re-elect ratings fell a little this month, the second month in a row that they dropped. Cuomo is overwhelmingly favored by Democrats over a potential Democratic primary opponent, actor/activist Cynthia Nixon, 66-19 percent. And Cuomo
holds early leads over two potential Republican opponents – Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro
(57-29 percent) and State Senator John DeFrancisco (57-28 percent).

“The SAFE Act continues to enjoy overwhelming support among Democrats, independents and downstaters. A small plurality of upstate voters supports it, while Republicans are virtually evenly divided,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Voters who claim to have a gun or rifle in their home – about one in five voters statewide – oppose the SAFE Act by a relatively narrow 49-42 percent. More than two-thirds of voters in households with no gun support the SAFE Act.

“Banning assault weapon sales nationally is supported by more than three-quarters of Democrats and small majorities of Republicans and independents. It is supported by more than two-thirds of downstaters and 57 percent of upstaters. Gun owners are evenly divided,” Greenberg said. “While by 11 points Republicans support allowing teachers to be armed, Democrats, independents and downstaters overwhelmingly oppose it, as do a majority of upstaters and a narrow majority of gun owners.”

“The Assembly passed three gun control measures – increasing the waiting period to up to 10 days for background checks, prohibiting sale of guns to people convicted of domestic violence crimes and banning the sale of bump stocks – that all enjoy strong bipartisan support of between 78 and 90 percent. The Senate passed three school safety measures – half of school lock down drills must be ‘active shooter’ drills, provide for school resource officers at schools outside New York City and NYPD officers at City schools – that all enjoy strong bipartisan support of between 69 and 78 percent,” Greenberg said. “Voters clearly support all six of these bills.”

Cuomo Has Large Early Primary & General Election Leads; Job Rating Lowest Since September 2016
“With an overall 20-19 percent favorability rating – 26-16 percent among Democrats – Cynthia Nixon is far from a household name in New York, though she is better known than either Molinaro or DeFrancisco,” Greenberg said. “Among registered Democrats (not likely primary voters) Cuomo is favored over Nixon by a huge 66-19 percent margin, including among self-identified liberals, 63-18 percent. While Nixon does a little better among younger and upstate Democrats, she doesn’t have the support of more than one-quarter of either group.

“Looking at potential general election matchups, Cuomo has strong early leads over both declared but little-known Republicans, DeFrancisco and Molinaro. Cuomo has the support of more than 80 percent of Democrats against either, while two-thirds of Republicans would support either over Cuomo,” Greenberg said. “Cuomo has the support of a small plurality of independents against either and strong support from downstate voters, while upstate voters are closely divided between Cuomo and either Republican.

“In an early look at how Republicans feel about their candidates – both are unknown to more than three-quarters of Republicans – DeFrancisco has the support of 21 percent to Molinaro’s 17 percent. Half of Republicans are undecided between the two, while 13 percent said they wouldn’t vote for either,” Greenberg said.

“Cuomo’s favorability rating is down just one point from last month,” Greenberg said. “More voters, 46 percent, now describe Cuomo as a liberal, than at any time since he’s been Governor. While Democrats see him as a moderate, a majority of Republicans and independents describe him as a liberal.”

Trump – Still Very Strong with Republicans – Remains Very Unpopular with New Yorkers
President Trump’s favorability rating, negative 33-63 percent, is unmoved from last month’s negative 33-62 percent. Trump’s overall job performance rating is negative 29-69 percent, unmoved from negative 29-70 percent last month. While his job performance ratings on specific issues remain solidly under water on six issues, on three – jobs, working with Congress and addressing North Korea – he’s made double digit gains since October.

“Two-thirds of Republicans give Trump a positive job performance rating and 70 percent view him favorably. But New York’s Democrats and independents remain decidedly negative to the first President from New York since FDR,” Greenberg said. “Between 60 and 65 percent of voters give him a negative rating on his handling of jobs, terrorism, North Korea, and trade policy. He gets a negative rating from about three-quarters of voters on working with Congress and protecting US elections from foreign interference. Even Republicans give him a negative grade working with Congress, and they’re closely divided on his handling of protecting our elections.”

Gillibrand Currently Has Smooth Sailing Toward a Second Full Term as a Senator
“While nine-year Senator Kirsten Gillibrand remains unknown to a quarter of voters, she has 49-25 percent favorability rating, compared to her virtually unknown opponent, Chele Chiavacci Farley, who has an anemic
5-9 percent negative favorability rating,” Greenberg said. “With a 79-point lead with Democrats, an 18-point lead with independents, and a 36-point deficit with Republicans, Gillibrand has a more-than-comfortable early
60-24 percent lead over Farley, who currently does not get more than one-third support in any region of the state.”

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This Siena College Poll was conducted March 11-16, 2018 by telephone calls conducted in English to 772 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.0 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline and cell phone telephone numbers (both from Survey Sampling International) from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party by region, and gender to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, 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:


SCRI March Political Press Release

SCRI March Political Crosstabs