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Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the NY SAFE act into law earlier this month. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via Flickr
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the NY SAFE act into law earlier this month. Photo: Gov. Cuomo's office via Flickr

Survey finds gun law toll on Cuomo's ratings

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's championing of strict new gun control laws in New York has taken a toll on his popularity. Opinions are divided on the law's provisions. But a new poll finds that for the first time since taking office, Cuomo's approval rating has dropped significantly.

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Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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The Quinnipiac University poll finds the governor's approval rating plunged from an all-time high of 74 percent in in December to 59 percent now. Cuomo lost the most among Republicans, though he also dropped 10 points with Democrats, says pollster Mickey Carroll.

"His numbers overall are way, way down," said Carroll.

The governor says he's not surprised by the drop, and attributes it to his aggressive support for New York's toughest-in-the-nation gun control laws, approved on Jan. 15. But says he believes once opponents understand the full implications of the new gun laws, they will be more supportive.

"Because it has nothing to do with the legitimate ownership of a gun," said Cuomo.

The new gun law closes loopholes in the state's assault weapons ban and limits magazines to seven bullets or less. New Yorkers who already own assault style weapons would have to register them with the state. It also increases reporting of mentally ill people who might be a danger to themselves or others, and limits their access to firearms.

A plurality of voters, 34 percent, think the gun control law went too far, while 30 percent think they do not go far enough.

Cuomo says he ranks the vote by the legislature to approve the gun laws as one of his top achievements as governor.

"It was a gutsy vote," said Cuomo. "I believe it will save lives."

Quinnipiac's Mickey Carroll says the governor's decline in popularity may not be just about the new gun laws. Carroll says the Governor's recent State of the State speech contained many progressive but somewhat controversial proposals, including strengthening the state's right to choose abortion laws, raising the minimum wage, and fighting global warming.

"He meandered through the whole liberal landscape," Carroll said.

But, Carroll says even at a 59 percent approval rating, Governor Cuomo still has rankings that other politicians would "kill" for.

Cuomo is more popular than the state legislature, which has just a 32 percent approval rating.

And he's much better liked than the National Rifle Association. The poll found that the gun rights organization was viewed favorably by only 22 percent of New Yorkers.

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