Most Oppose Cuomo’s Plan for Aqueduct

ALBANY – A majority of New York voters oppose Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to build the country’s largest convention center at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, according to a new poll released on Monday.

Voters remain highly content with Mr. Cuomo’s job performance, the poll, conducted by Siena College, found. But their disdain for his convention center proposal – 38 percent supported it, while 57 percent opposed it – marks the first time since Mr. Cuomo took office that one of his major proposals has landed with a thud.

“New York City voters are barely supportive, suburbanites are opposed and upstaters are strongly opposed,” said Steven A. Greenberg, a Siena pollster. “Clearly, the governor has his work cut out for him to convince voters on that proposal.”

The poll also found that voters were decidedly mixed in their views of several other initiatives that Mr. Cuomo promoted earlier this month in his second annual State of the State address. A narrow majority, 53 percent, said they supported amending the state’s Constitution to legalize Las Vegas-style casinos – a process that would eventually require public approval through a referendum.

New Yorkers were roughly split over Mr. Cuomo’s plan to set aside $1 billion to lure new employers to Buffalo, and they were also divided over his vow to end a requirement that food stamp applicants be fingerprinted.

Some of the governor’s other proposals were more popular. Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they supported his efforts to reform campaign finance laws and to accelerate a broad program of public works projects around the state. An even larger majority, 82 percent, backed his plan to create a bipartisan commission to study how schools could improve teacher evaluation and management efficiency.

But one of the most memorable lines from Mr. Cuomo’s State of the State address, in which he vowed to take on a second job as a lobbyist for public school students, appeared to have missed the mark somewhat: for every person who expressed confidence that the governor would improve schools, another dismissed his promise as grandstanding.

The poll indicated that the thrust of the governor’s speech – the need for state government to focus on encouraging job creation – reflected an area in which voters have not overwhelmingly seen the governor as effective. Only a third of those surveyed said they believed that, in the last year, Mr. Cuomo had improved the state’s business climate for creating private-sector jobs.

One thing was clear from the poll: Mr. Cuomo is still hugely popular with New Yorkers. His favorability rating stood at 73 percent, roughly the same level from Siena’s poll a year ago, not long after Mr. Cuomo’s inauguration.

The new Siena poll, which surveyed 805 registered voters by telephone from Jan. 8 to 12, has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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