Voters believe that corruption in state government is a serious problem, but few know about a federal probe into potential meddling by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in a corruption-busting panel, a poll today found.
The Democratic governor has been under intense scrutiny in the media and from his GOP foes over the last three weeks about his office’s role in allegedly scuttling attempts by the Moreland Commission he appointed into investigating his allies.
Yet two-thirds of voters said they were unfamiliar with the issue, a Siena College poll found. Upstate voters were slightly more familiar: 36 percent said they were aware of the probe by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The flap, however, did lead to a five-percentage-point drop against his Republican opponent, Westcheser County executive Rob Astorino, although Cuomo still retained a 32-percentage-point edge.
Cuomo led Astorino 58 percent to 26 percent.
“Albany insiders and political junkies are certainly talking lots about Moreland, Bharara, investigations, and the like, but most New York voters are spending their summer not following any of that news,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. “Voters see corruption as a serious problem, but not one they pay a lot of attention to.”
Sixty-three percent of voters said they didn’t have enough information about the Moreland Commission’s disbandment in March by Cuomo to make a decision on whether there was any criminality.
Cuomo dumped the panel as it investigated more than a dozen potential corruption cases in the state Legislature, mainly surrounding possible misuse of campaign cash.
The commission’s work is now being reviewed by Bharara. Astorino has sought to seize on the Moreland mess, but the poll showed he had made few inroads, in part because his fundraising as lagged and hasn’t allowed him to get attack ads on the air.
He trailed Cuomo by 60 percentage points in New York City, 25 points in the downstate suburbs and 14 points among upstate voters, the poll said. And 57 percent of voters said they had no opinion of him.
Cuomo’s favorability rating, though, dropped from 57 percent to 36 percent, down from 61 percent to 35 percent last month. His job performance rating also fell slightly to 44 percent to 55 percent, down from 50 percent to 49 percent.
Jobs remained the number one issue for voters at 28 percent, followed by taxes at 21 percent, education at 20 percent and government corruption at 17 percent, the poll said.
Democratic incumbents in the other two statewide races on the ballot held commanding leads over their Republican opponents, the Siena poll found.
Comptroller Tom DiNapoli led Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci by 34 percentage points, while Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had a 27 percentage-point edge over John Cahill, a former aide to ex-Gov. George Pataki.
The Siena College Poll was conducted August 4-7 to 863 likely registered voters. It had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.