ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New Yorkers embrace several elements of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's 2013 agenda, despite a decline in his overall favorability prompted by his recent gun control law, a poll showed Thursday.
The Quinnipiac University poll asked New York voters to prioritize some of Cuomo's agenda items as highest, high or lower priority. Most placed a high or highest priority on Cuomo's effort to further strengthen laws requiring equal pay for women, raising the minimum wage and reducing the influence of money in politics.
Most voters also placed a high priority on his proposals to lengthen the school day or year, to pay better teachers more money and to require a new competency exam for teachers.
Raising the minimum wage has been favored by 80 percent of New Yorkers in polls for months, while equal pay for women hasn't often been polled because it is believed to have overwhelming support.
The poll released Thursday didn't ask about some of Cuomo's more controversial proposals from his recent State of the State speech. They include his plan to strengthen abortion laws, which is drawing opposition from the state Conservative Party, the Senate Republican leader, conservative Democrats and Catholic bishops. The poll also didn't ask about Cuomo's push for a law to provide state tuition assistance to college-bound illegal immigrants, and the decriminalization of public possession of small amounts of marijuana.
Quinnipiac Director Maurice Carroll said Thursday that although the poll only asks voters to assess priorities for issues, it shows support for Cuomo's agenda. Carroll said Cuomo's overall 15-point drop in favorability in part of the Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday now appears to be linked only to the gun control law, not his broader "liberal" agenda as Carroll believed on Wednesday.
"There is no sign of rejection of any of this agenda," Carroll said in an interview Thursday. "I said I thought there would be a negative reaction to the litany of liberal stuff he came up with, and there wasn't. ... I was wrong. It was just gun control."
Cuomo told reporters Wednesday that he was certain his drop in the poll was solely the reflection of him taking a difficult political position. The law forces the registration of assault weapons, tougher sentences for gun crimes and measures to keep guns from the mentally ill and from criminals.
"That is why is why politicians have stayed away from this issue for a very long period of time because it is sensitive," Cuomo said. "I understand the political desire to sidestep the tough ones. That's not why we were elected, that's not why I'm here, that's not who I am, that's not what I'm going to do."
The poll released Wednesday showed the Democrat dropped from his all-time high job approval rating of 74 percent in December to 59 percent now. Cuomo's support among Republicans dropped to 44 percent, from 68 percent in early December. Democratic support dropped from 82 percent to 74 percent.
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