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Voters closer soul mates to Gov Cuomo than Mayor de Blasio, on most issues

HAMDEN CT - By a 47 – 37 percent margin, including 49 – 40 percent among New York City voters, all New York State voters back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan for universal pre-kindergarten with no new taxes over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to fund pre-K with a city income tax hike on high-income families, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters support 76 – 20 percent state funding in general of universal pre-K, the independent poll finds, with support at 59 – 35 percent among Republicans, 91 – 7 percent among Democrats and 73 – 23 percent among independent voters.

A total of 78 percent of voters say universal pre-K would be “very effective” or “somewhat effective” in improving education for all New York State children. A total of 74 percent say universal pre-K would be very or somewhat effective in putting poor children “on a path out of poverty.”

Voters say 55 – 42 percent that pre-kindergarten education should be optional, not mandatory. Women say optional 51 – 46 percent and men say optional 59 – 38 percent.

Backing Gov. Cuomo’s no-tax pre-K plan are Republicans, 60 – 20 percent, independent voters 48 – 37 percent, men 44 – 37 percent, women, 49 – 37 percent, upstate voters 43 – 36 percent and suburban voters 50 – 34 percent. Democrats back de Blasio’s plan 49 – 39 percent.

“Just about everyone in this most liberal of states likes universal pre-kindergarten and they think – overwhelmingly – that kids will learn and that it will help them out of poverty,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “But voters prefer Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s no-new-taxes approach to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tax-the-rich plan to pay for those new classes.  The mayor made his argument again in his State-of-the-City speech. It will be interesting to see how a mayor elected with a huge margin of a small turnout fares with up-for-election state officials.”  

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, a total of 28 percent of New York State voters list the economy or jobs or wages as the top priority for Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature. A total of 18 percent list education or education funding. This group includes 1 percent who specifically said pre-Kindergarten or early childhood education.

A total of 12 percent list priorities related to taxes and only 2 percent list income inequality or class inequality.

Environmental concerns outweigh economic benefits as New York State voters oppose 45 – 41 percent drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale. Suburban voters support drilling by a slim 44 – 40 percent margin, while New York City voters are opposed 48 – 35 percent. Upstate voters are divided with 46 percent in favor of drilling and 45 percent opposed.

Cuomo is “dragging his feet” to avoid making a decision on hydraulic fracturing, 35 percent of voters say, while 23 percent say he is “carefully evaluating the issue,” with 37 percent undecided. Upstate voters say 45 – 24 percent the governor is dragging his feet.

Gov. Cuomo most closely represents their political views, 44 percent of New York State voters say, while 27 percent line up with Mayor de Blasio, leaving 28 percent undecided. Cuomo wins more hearts and minds among every party, gender and regional group except New York City voters, who identify with de Blasio 44 – 38 percent.

“Who do voters feel more at home with philosophically? Cuomo has the edge over de Blasio, except in New York City,” Carroll said.