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Siena Poll finds Cuomo far ahead in governor's race, Common Core unpopular

Zack Seward
Gov. Andrew Cuomo leads his Republican opponent by more than 35 points, with less than four months until Election Day.

A poll conducted fifteen weeks before Election Day shows incumbent New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is maintaining a wide lead over his nearest challenger.

According to a recent Siena Research Institute poll, Cuomo is 37 points ahead of Republican challenger Rob Astorino.  The Democrat also has a high favorability rating, while 60 percent of voters have never heard of Astorino.

Candidates’ financial statements were released earlier this month, and Cuomo reported having $35 million, compared to Astorino’s $2.4 million in the bank.

Siena’s Steve Greenberg says the GOP challenger has “a gigantic hole to climb out of” if he wants to make the race competitive. The poor showing in the polls makes it all that much harder to raise money.

“He’s in a catch-22,” Greenberg said. “He’s got to find a way to raise enough money to become known to voters.”

Common Core -- good news, bad news for Astorino


The poll contains some good news for Astorino. The Republican challenger has created a new ballot line, called the Stop Common Core Party, to attract New Yorkers who are opposed to the controversial implementation of the new federal learning standards. The good news for Astorino is forty-nine percent of New Yorkers are against Common Core, while only 39 percent are for it.

But the state's implementation of the Common Core standards probably will not have an impact on this fall's gubernatorial race, according to the poll.

Greenberg says those who want the Common Core stopped include Republicans, Independents and upstaters. Nearly half of Democrats polled and those living in New York City says they want the curriculum to continue. So Greenberg concludes the new ballot line likely won't attract new voters to Astorino.

"The vast majority of voters who oppose the Common Core, they know that Astorino is the candidate for them if they are a one-issue voter," Greenberg said. "But when Siena asked voters what's the most important issue for you to determine your vote for governor, nearly half of the people said an economic issue. Jobs, taxes, the economy, budget."

Greenberg says only one percent of those polled said the Common Core was the most important issue to them during the election.

The poll also found that New Yorkers continue to be divided about whether the natural gas drilling process called hydrofracking should be allowed, with 42 percent saying no and 41 percent saying yes.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.