It seems safe to say that upstate’s love affair with Andrew Cuomo is over. Last February, one month after he signed the controversial SAFE Act into law, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s poll numbers took a nose dive. According to the Siena poll, his favorable-unfavorable rating dropped from a post-Hurricane Sandy high-water mark of 68-26 in December 2012, to 54-41. During that same time, Cuomo’s job approval went from 52-47 to 47-53, and the percentage of upstate voters prepared to re-elect him over an anonymous “someone else” went from 57 percent to 47 percent.
One year later, Cuomo’s upstate numbers still haven’t recovered, and after holding more or less steady, even took another slide from January to February of this year. After his worst week in office since becoming governor, Andrew Cuomo is now viewed for the first time by important Democrats as potentially vulnerable to Republican challenger Rob Astorino.
Cuomo who rode to victory on the strength of “Good Government” and a promise of publicly funded elections was sharply criticized after disbanding the Moreland Commission. The commission was scrapped after less than a year of activity to pave the way for an ethics deal in the most recent budget. Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been very critical calling Cuomo’s plans “phony”. He points to the failed promise of a system of publicly funded elections which was all but lost in this year’s legislation except for the comptroller’s election.
“It was a disastrous week for Andrew. He was being attacked all over town, and it appeared to be the culmination of not just weeks, but months, of eroding support for the governor from within his own Democratic base,’’ one of the state’s most influential Democrats wrote the NY Post.
Cuomo held a hush-hush meeting with Working Families Party leaders Dan Cantor and Bob Masters at his campaign headquarters in Manhattan last Thursday in an effort to head off the growing possibility that the WFP will field its own candidate for governor in November.
While the union-controlled WFP’s leadership would like to have Cuomo as the party’s nominee, widespread unhappiness with Cuomo’s support for business-tax cuts, spending restraints and the aforementioned fatally flawed publicly financed campaign system is making that difficult.
Several Democratic strategists said Cuomo’s eroding support among politically powerful New York City-based unions, including those behind the influential Working Families Party, all but assures an unusually low turnout among the city’s heavily Democratic voters, normally the foundation for a statewide Democratic victory.
Critics of Bharara’s claim his own political aspirations are the real fuel for his most recent public attacks on Cuomo, but nevertheless there have been murmurs from top members within the Democratic party that suggest Astorino’s potential gains on Cuomo may be “a good thing”.
In a head-to-head matchup, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to hold a better than two-to-one lead over Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, 58-28 percent (down a little from 61-26 percent last month). However, if the race includes a Working Families Party candidate perceived to be more liberal or progressive than Cuomo, his lead falls to 15 points, with 39 percent for Cuomo, and 24 percent each for Astorino and the unnamed WFP candidate, according to a Siena College Poll of New York voters. 84 percent of voters say corruption in Albany is a serious problem thus all the criticism and apparent slide in numbers for Cuomo after disbanding the Moreland commission he once proudly championed.