ALBANY – Many New Yorkers apparently don’t agree with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s “progressive” agenda, according to a poll released Wednesday that showed his job approval rating has fallen, hitting its lowest level since the early weeks after he took office in 2011.
Those who say Cuomo is doing a good job as governor dropped to 59 percent, down from his high of 74 percent a month ago, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Twenty-eight percent of respondents disapprove of the way he is doing his job, up from 13 percent in the previous poll.
Quinnipiac pollsters put the blame on Cuomo’s push for the stronger gun-control law that the State Legislature passed earlier this month.
The poll also came after Cuomo signaled in his State of the State address that he was going to use the 2013 legislative session to press for a more left-leaning agenda, including taxpayer financing of elections, relaxation of marijuana-possession laws, a hike in the minimum wage and stronger abortion-access laws.
Cuomo’s support fell to just 51 percent among upstate residents, the poll found. He did best among the wealthy, the older and New York City residents.
His job approval ratings had remained above 70 percent during the past two years, through his push to legalize gay marriage and breaking his campaign vow not to raise taxes.
This recent dip was notable because now only 44 percent of Republicans approve of his job performance. A month ago, 68 percent of GOP voters said he was doing a good job.
But the Democratic governor’s support also fell among Democratic voters and independent voters, with 54 percent of independents approving of his handling of his office, down 20 points from a month ago.
The poll found 50 percent of voters who live in households with guns approve of his job performance, compared with 68 percent of voters in households without guns.
While 34 percent of New Yorkers say the new gun-control law goes too far in restricting ownership rights, 59 percent of Republicans say it is too restrictive. Twelve percent of Democrats said it went too far, compared with 44 percent of independents.
Overall, 30 percent of all voters polled said the new gun law does not go far enough to improve public safety, while 30 percent said its restrictions are about right.
The poll did not ask about some of Cuomo’s other potentially controversial proposals.
On the gun issue, 51 percent of upstate residents polled said the new law goes too far in restricting ownership of guns, compared with 19 percent of New York City residents. Forty-eight percent said stricter gun ownership laws will reduce school violence; 40 percent said armed guards are the solution.
Quinnipiac pollsters put a positive spin on the decline in the governor’s approval rating. “With approval ratings that consistently topped 70 percent, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had the political capital to spend when he set out to pass the toughest gun-control laws in the nation,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “It is possible that the gun law cost him some of that political capital, but a 2-1 job approval rating still makes him the envy of most governors.”
Carroll said Quinnipiac will release an additional poll today on New Yorkers’ attitudes on a number of policy areas besides gun control.
Cuomo blamed his ratings drop entirely on the gun law that he pushed through two weeks ago and that was passed without the usual three-day bill “aging” process to let the public get an understanding of its provisions before the Legislature voted.
“Not at all,” Cuomo said when asked if he was surprised by the sharp drop in his poll standings.
“I understand the political sensitivity of this issue,” he said of the gun law, which he called “one of the greatest accomplishments” in his two years in office.
But he suggested his numbers will go back up when people learn more about the law. “The more they hear about the law, the better they’re going to feel,” he said of its critics.
The poll, taken Jan. 23-28, questioned 1,127 registered voters and has a 2.9 percent margin of error.