ALBANY – When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo comes to Buffalo tonight to take home what fundraiser organizers hope will be nearly $500,000 toward his 2014 re-election campaign, one could ask an otherwise bizarre question: Might New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have done better?
A poll released Monday showed the Republican governor of the Garden State more popular in the Empire State than its own Democratic governor, and more New Yorkers saying they would vote for Christie for president over Cuomo.
The Siena Research Institute poll shows Cuomo’s job-performance rating not only at an all-time low, but also reveals that Christie, who just won re-election and is talked about as a contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, has a 63 percent favorability rating in New York compared with 61 percent for Cuomo.
Upstate registered voters, many of whom are far removed from the daily doings of the New Jersey governor, unlike voters in downstate media markets, gave Christie a 59 percent approval rating – 8 points higher than Cuomo.
The governor is set to fly in for a fundraiser in the downtown Hyatt Regency Buffalo, where the lowest ticket price is $1,000, according to invitations.
The rescheduled event had been planned for two weeks ago in the same hotel on the same night that a group of energy industry executives heard state GOP Chairman Edward F. Cox blast Cuomo for not making a decision about whether to permit the hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” method of drilling for natural gas in New York.
Cuomo has at least $28 million in his campaign account, according to the last public filing with the state Board of Elections back in July.
Cuomo’s appearance in Buffalo is expected to draw protesters on at least two issues: fracking and the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or SAFE Act, that was enacted in January.
The Siena poll indicates bad and good news for Cuomo. On the problem side, 56 percent give his job performance a negative rating, his worst since taking office in January 2011. Forty-four percent give him a positive rating. Upstate, the numbers are gloomy: 65 percent say they don’t like the job Cuomo is doing in office.
Fifty-one percent of New Yorkers say they would vote to re-elect Cuomo – down from 62 percent last December – with 41 percent saying they would like someone else as governor.
But New Yorkers, at least right now, aren’t swayed by the possible opponents Cuomo might face next year. The Siena poll shows Cuomo beating Cox, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and Buffalo businessman and 2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl P. Paladino by between 37 and 41 percentage points.
While more New Yorkers would vote for Christie over Cuomo for president if the election were held now, 56 percent said they would vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former secretary of state and New York senator, compared with 40 percent for Christie.
The Cuomo administration declined to comment on the poll.