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NYSNYS NEWS: Siena Poll finds voters souring on Cuomo and legislators, prospects for ending Albany corruption.
NYSNYS NEWS: Siena Poll finds voters souring on Cuomo and legislators, prospects for ending Albany corruption.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 26) With legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo preparing to return here Wednesday for the final days of the 2015 session, voters slammed the door in their faces in a new poll out Tuesday.

The Siena College poll reported 90 percent of voters said corruption is a serious problem in state government, with 59 percent rating Cuomo as "Fair" or "Poor" as governor.

A slight majority of 53 percent gave Cuomo a "Favorable" rating, his lowest ever and 24 points lower than his rating when he took office in 2011. The Assembly received an even lower 43 percent favorable rating, and the Senate a 41 percent favorable.

"Voters continue to see corruption in state government as a serious issue," Siena Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg said, citing an apparently deep skepticism that anything will change anytime soon, Preet Bharara or no Preet Bharara.

"By a 55-35 percent margin including majorities from every party and region voters say the recent indictments of former (Assembly) Speaker Sheldon Silver and former (Senate) Majority Leader Dean Skelos will not reduce corruption in Albany," he added.

As for Bharara, the corruption-busting U.S. Attorney who ordered the FBI to arrest Skelos and Silver on bribery and extortion charges, 71 percent of voters picked "Don't Know/No Opinion" when asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him.

Cuomo's own record as a corruption buster prompted a collective shoulder shrug from the same polled voters, nearly five years into his professed campaign to clean up Albany and instill honesty and transparency in New York State government.

"When it comes to reducing corruption, half including a majority of Democrats and those from New York City says Cuomo has been at least somewhat effective, while half say he has not been," Greenberg said.

Cuomo's reputation has been tarnished by his decision to suddenly shutdown the Moreland investigation of Albany corruption just months before Bharara prosecuted Silver and Skelos, in part using evidence uncovered by the Moreland staff.

Whether the scandals will continue to dog him remains to be seen. Speaking after release of the poll on the public radio show "The Capitol Pressroom," Greenberg said Cuomo is not up for re-election for three and a half years. Cuomo has said he expects to seek a third term, but both Democrats and Republican are preparing contingency plans in case he does not run again.

Cuomo has mostly been out of action in recent days while attending to Sandra Lee, the woman he lives who underwent surgery for breast cancer on May 19. She was released from the hospital and the couple posted a Facebook photo Monday showing them relaxing with a pet bird at the Westchester home they reside in.

Legislators have been out of action since since May 20, when they adjourned for a six-day Memorial Day break. They are due back in session late on Wednesday.

The Siena Poll also found support for the property tax cap, the Start-Up New York tax break program for new businesses, and the SAFE Act gun control measures three signature Cuomo laws.

Voters are about evenly divided on two other end of session issues, the Education Tax Credit for private and parochial schools and the Dream Act to make illegal alien students eligible for taxpayer-provided college tuition aid.

Siena said the poll was conducted May 18-21 by telephone calls to 695 English speaking registered voters.