ALBANY — Delays and derailments in the New York City transit system have hurt Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating, a Quinnipiac University poll Wednesday said.
Cuomo’s job approval statewide was 46 percent to 38 percent, and was upside down in upstate, the poll found. The statewide rating was Cuomo’s worst poll numbers by Quinnipiac since September 2015.
“One ticking time bomb for Gov. Cuomo is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority,” Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.
“Voters don’t give the governor good marks on handling that. A couple more derailments or just overall weariness with traveling on the trains – could derail his political prospects.”
Commuters have pointed the finger at the Democratic governor amid ongoing woes on the subways and suburban trains from Long Island and the Hudson Valley. They are run by the MTA, which Cuomo has major influence over.
And it is showing in his approval rating, which was at 51 percent to 31 percent in the last Quinnipiac poll March 29.
City voters approved of the job Cuomo was doing 52 percent to 33 percent, down from 60 percent to 23 percent in March. His approval fell four percentage points among suburban voters, and dropped six percentage point in upstate: to a negative 37 percent to 48 percent approval.
Fifty percent of voters statewide and 55 percent in the city gave Cuomo a B or a C grade for his handling of the MTA, but 37 percent of city voters and 32 percent of voters statewide gave him a D or an F, the poll from the Connecticut-based college said.
The Quinnipiac poll contrasts recent polls from Siena College, based near Albany. A Siena poll in late May found Cuomo’s approval was at its highest in three years.
Cuomo has countered that the state is investing more than $8 billion into the MTA, and it trying to speed up repairs to a system built in the early 1900s that is ill-equipped to handle the demands of about 9 million riders a day.
Cuomo billed massive repairs underway at Penn Station as the “summer of hell” because of scheduled cuts in service at the midtown Manhattan transit hub.
But with the work starting Monday, Cuomo said Tuesday that the state’s preparations have so far paid off. The state has sought way to alleviate train congestion, such as encouraging more use of buses and off-hour travel by commercial vehicles.
“We spent months taking all sorts of extraordinary measures. We managed it as if it was an emergency,” Cuomo told reporters at an event in Batavia.
Cuomo plans to seek a third term next year and is rumored as a prospective presidential candidate in 2020.
But the Quinnipiac poll said New Yorkers are not too keen on a run by Cuomo for the White House.
By a 55 percent to 38 percent margin, voters said Cuomo should not run for president, and 56 percent said he would not make a good president.
“This might change – it almost certainly will – when the 2020 presidential year comes along. But for now his New York neighbors don’t think Gov. Cuomo would be a good President and they don’t want him to try for the job,” Carroll said.
Cuomo brushed off questions Tuesday about a presidential run.
“That’s what they do in politics. They speculate,” Cuomo said in Schenectady when asked by reporters. “I’m running for re-election as governor of the state of New York. And that’s what I’m focused on.”
The poll was conducted July 5–10 to 1,137 New York voters. It had a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.
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