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Cuomo benefits from Trump's unpopularity in New York
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A new poll finds that in New York. Governor Cuomo’s numbers are rising, while President Trump’s are sinking.

For the first time in two and a half years, Governor Cuomo’s job approval rating is at 50%, after stagnating in the mid 40’s since the summer of 2014. And Steve Greenberg, spokesman for Siena College polling, says 60% of New Yorkers now say they have a favorable view of Cuomo, the largest number in two years.  What’s changed? Greenberg says it’s a combination of factors, including the governor’s 2017 agenda, which includes popular proposals like free college tuition for some middle-class New Yorkers.

“They like his agenda right now,” said Greenberg.

He says also New Yorkers are not happy with President Trump, and that helps Cuomo.

“By comparison, they think the governor looks better,” Greenberg said.   

President Trump’s approval ratings are falling, with only 36% of people in the state viewing Trump favorably, and just 29% saying he’s doing a good job, though Trump still has the support of just over 70% of New York Republicans.  

Cuomo has been publicly fighting against the President’s policies on cracking down on immigrants and, in recent days, against attempts by Trump and the Republican-led Congress to dismantle Obama Care. Cuomo, speaking at a February 22nd rally sponsored by the health care workers union SEIU 1199, said repealing the Medicaid funding associated with the Affordable Care Act would cut $3.7 billion dollars from the state budget and “devastate” health care in New York.   

“You demand and you deserve quality affordable health care as a human condition,” Cuomo shouted,  as the crowd cheered.

Cuomo did not mention Trump by name.

However, a group that lobbies for more funding for schools is trying to link the governor and the increasingly unpopular President. The Alliance for Quality Education,  in advance of rallies planned across the state on March 4th, have released a video titled  “Trump and Cuomo ‘education buddies’. It features clips of the Governor and the President using many of the exact same talking points against excessive education spending.

AQE, which is partly funded by the teachers union,  is angry with the governor over what they say is his failure to follow a decade-old court order saying that billions more dollars need to be spent on schools to guarantee school children their constitutional right to a “sound, basic” education. Cuomo administration officials have argued that the order only applies to New York City and they’ve already spent record amounts of money on schools.

In fact, at that same rally before the health care workers, Cuomo touted his proposal to spend one billion more dollars on schools in the new state budget.

“Because there are too many failing schools out there,” Cuomo said. “Especially in poorer urban communities.”

Negative ad campaigns have diminished the popularity of prior New York governors. The health care workers union unleashed television advertisements against former Governors Pataki and Spitzer, leading to drops in their poll numbers. Cuomo has taken care to befriend the health care workers, but he’s feuded with the teachers' unions.

Greenberg, with Siena polling, says the negative campaigns can take their toll.

“We’ve certainly seen politicians get hurt,” he said.

And he says the negative portrayals are effective if they resonate with something that the public already believes about a politician.  

“Does it make sense to voters,” Greenberg said. “And,  how much money is put behind it to feed that message?”  

The ads comparing Cuomo to Trump are online, but, unlike previous ad campaigns again former governors they are not on broadcast TV.

A spokesman for Cuomo, Rich Azzopardi, calls the ad “lobbyist lies” from a group that only wants “more money”, and ignores the “facts”.