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Cuomo's job performance hits all-time low in poll

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating is the lowest it’s been since taking office, according to a new poll. The Siena College survey also finds many New Yorkers are split regarding the implementation of the new Common Core standards in schools.  

The Siena College poll finds only 44% of voters like the job that Cuomo is doing as governor. A small majority, 56 percent, say he’s doing a fair or poor job. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says it’s the first time the governor’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent.  

“His job performance, how voters think Andrew Cuomo is doing as governor, took a big hit this month,” Greenberg said.

Cuomo doesn’t have to be too worried about his 2014 reelection race, though. When matched up against three potential Republican opponents, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino and state GOP Chair Ed Cox, nearly two thirds of potential voters back Cuomo.

The governor also has nearly $30 million in his campaign war chest, more than any other governor in the country. No potential opponent so far has any significant amount of money for a race.

Greenberg says the funds will make it easy for Cuomo to get his message out over the next year.

“That’s a lot of money to spend telling your story,” Greenberg said.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers are unsettled about recent trends in education, particularly the state’s implementation of what’s known as the new Common Core standards, part of a national effort to raise the level of classroom instruction. The poll finds 49 percent have doubts about the program, while only 45 percent said they have confidence in the new program.

The program has been controversial in New York. Parents and teachers have confronted state Education Commissioner John King in public meetings, saying children are stressed from all of the new tests being administered as part of the transition, and that too much time is being taken away from classroom learning.   

When respondents were asked what they think about the new tests, 52 percent said they think there are just too many of them.

“The one thing we know that voters do agree on is testing,” said Greenberg. “That there is too much testing in the schools.”

Cuomo, who once said he intended to be the lobbyist for students, has mostly kept out of the debate, saying he understands that big changes can have a rocky start, but that he supports the national shift to the Common Core standards.

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.