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The Empire

Poll: Rent, Ethics Reform, Property Tax Cap Should Top Agenda

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A new poll released by Siena College Monday gives New York Governor Andrew Cuomo a big post-budget boost, and sees strong support for more rent regulations, independent redistricting process and same-sex marriage.

Some of the highlights:

Cuomo was a winner as a result of the budget. Local schools, hospitals and the citizens of New York were losers.

By a 7-1 margin, voters say Cuomo was the big winner in the budget debate. A plurality of 41 percent, however, say that local schools, hospitals, and residents took the hit. Still, Cuomo is viewed favorably by 73 percent of voters, while 18 percent view him unfavorably. Favorability ratings and the number of voters saying Cuomo is doing an "excellent/good job" have both increased since last month. These ratings are nearly identical among Democrats and Republicans in all regions of the state.

Support for same sex marriage is on the upswing

Same sex marriage now has more support than it’s ever had, with voters 55 and older and Republicans being nearly evenly divided, and voters younger than 55 and Democrats and independents being strongly supportive.

Budget makes voters feel better about state legislature.

But not its leaders. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos continue to be viewed unfavorably, but by a 3-1 margin, New Yorkers say the new budget makes them feel better about the legislature as a whole.

Property tax cap, ethics reform should top legislative agenda.

Statewide, imposing a property tax cap and instituting ethics reform are the two most pressing issues before the legislature. Same sex marriage legislation, extending rent regulations, and the creation of an independent redistricting commission round out the list, in that order. Marriage equality enjoys a majority of support.

For New York City voters, ethics reform and rent regulations were the two most important issues.

Squeeze public employees, but not too hard.

A majority of voters support freezing public employee salaries for a year and forcing said employees to contribute more to their pensions. But New Yorkers across the board also support keeping the Triborough Amendment, which keeps current salary and benefit levels in place for public employees when their contracts expire. A slim majority (51-46) of New Yorkers would also like to repeal the Taylor Law, which denies public employees the right to strike.

Overwhelmingly, voters say that unions have been treated fairly by Governor Cuomo.

Obama looks better...

63 percent of New Yorkers view Obama favorably; that rating is at its highest point since January 2010. 52 percent  of New Yorkers want to see the president re-elected next year, the highest that number has been since Siena started asking the question in December.

...and New York State is looking up.

“Despite seeing themselves, their schools and their hospitals as budget losers, 44 percent of voters think that the budget will make fiscal conditions in New York better, compared to only 16 percent who believe the budget will worsen the state’s fiscal condition," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

46 percent of voters say that New York is heading in the right direction, compared to 41 percent who say it's not. This marks only the second time in the last three years that more New Yorkers have an optimistic view on the direction of the state.

-- Stephen Reader