ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Allegations that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration meddled with an anti-corruption commission may have reduced his lead over Republican Rob Astorino — but not enough to significantly alter the race, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The Marist College survey of 852 registered voters found that 54 percent support Cuomo, a Democrat, compared with 23 percent for Astorino, the Westchester County executive. A poll last month put Cuomo’s lead at 59-24 percent.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they have a favorable impression of Cuomo, his lowest rating since he took office in 2011. Astorino remains largely unknown to many, with 53 percent saying they have no opinion of him.
The numbers suggest allegations that Cuomo’s office interfered with the work of the anti-corruption panel have disappointed some supporters but done little to change his commanding lead over Astorino. Seventy-one percent of the poll’s respondents said they view the episode as either a minor factor in deciding their vote or no factor at all.
“The political storm is taking a toll,” said Lee Miringoff, director of Marist’s Institute for Public Opinion. “But he (Cuomo) has managed to keep the fallout at arm’s length where his re-election is concerned.”
Cuomo has been dogged by questions about his handling of the anti-corruption panel he created last year and dismantled this spring after The New York Times reported that a top aide pressured the commission not to investigate groups with ties to the governor.
A federal prosecutor in Manhattan last week threatened to investigate Cuomo’s office for obstruction and witness tampering for allegedly encouraging commission members to speak out publicly on Cuomo’s behalf.
Astorino has attempted to capitalize on the issue. He said Tuesday that he expects the race to narrow as it moves toward November.
“I don’t put a lot of stock in these polls,” Astorino said during a radio interview with New York Post columnist Fred Dicker. “We’re not basing this campaign on polls because we’re never going to be in the lead.”
A spokesman for Cuomo declined to comment on the poll.
The telephone survey of 1,039 state residents — including 852 registered voters — was conducted July 28 through July 31 and was sponsored by NBC 4 New York and The Wall Street Journal. It has a 3.4 percent margin of error.