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Cuomo's poll numbers still high, despite Moreland Commission controversy

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo/Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a recent visit to Syracuse (file photo)

Election Day is less than three months away, and despite a recent scandal that gained national media attention, Gov. Andrew Cuomo still is leading the race. That's according to the latest Siena college poll. WRVO's Catherine Loper spoke with pollster Steven Greenberg, who explained why. 

Catherine Loper: What are the main findings in this latest Siena poll about the governor’s race?

Steven Greenberg: What we see in this new Siena poll is that Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to have a very large lead over his Republican challenger, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.  Right now, Cuomo has the support of 58 percent of likely November voters compared to 26 percent who support Astorino. That means Cuomo’s lead is 32 points, down a little bit from the 37 point lead he had three weeks ago. But we went back in the field so quickly after three weeks to judge what had happened — what the public reaction was to all the news coverage over the last three weeks of the Moreland commission, the federal investigation -- and what do we find? We find that while voters say corruption in state government in Albany is a serious problem, and in fact 86 percent say it’s a serious problem, we also find that it’s not the most important issue for voters in terms of who to support for governor.  Those tend to be pocketbook issues like jobs and taxes. But we also find that voters are largely not paying attention. 

Catherine Loper: And that controversy over the Moreland Commission stems from allegations that the governor’s staff meddled in that anti-corruption commission. Why do you think it is not affecting the race more than it is?

Steven Greenberg: We are in the middle of the summer. Folks are focused on their everyday lives, and Albany is really very much an afterthought.  When you give voters information about what’s going on, they certainly have an opinion about it, but with the lack of information most voters say “I just don’t know enough about it, I don’t really have a strong feeling, I just don’t know what’s going on.”

Catherine Loper: Cuomo’s main opponent, Rob Astorino the Westchester County executive, seems to be according to your poll gaining little traction with voters.  Why do you think that is?

Steven Greenberg: The problem for Astorino and his campaign is one of resources.  It comes down to three issues: money, money, and more money.