By Joseph Spector
Albany Bureau Chief
ALBANY - Voters are pleased with the agenda Gov. Andrew Cuomo has laid out for the 2013 legislative session, a poll Thursday found.
Cuomo himself still enjoys strong approval ratings. The Siena College poll found Cuomo with a 71-24 percent favorability rating, essentially unchanged from last month. He had a 60 percent job-performance rating, also unchanged from December.
Nine of Cuomo's initiatives in his State of the State address Jan. 9 were strongly supported by New Yorkers, the poll said.
Voters said they supported strong bans on assault weapons and increasing penalties on illegal gun purchases - two key pieces of a gun-control law passed by lawmakers and signed by Cuomo on Tuesday.
Voters were split 52 percent to 46 percent on whether to have armed security guards in all schools. Cuomo has not proposed the idea.
"A new year and the same old, same old when it comes to how voters feel about the governor," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement. "He continues to be viewed favorably by more than 70 percent of voters, including 58 percent of Republicans, and he continues to have a 60 percent excellent/good job performance rating."
Cuomo, a first-term Democrat, is heading into his third year with approval ratings that are among the highest in the country for a governor. His poll numbers have changed little since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2010.
In the first full day of the legislative session Monday, Cuomo landed a hastily announced deal with lawmakers to give New York the toughest gun-control laws in the nation and the first new laws since the Newtown, Conn., shootings last month.
"How many people have to die before government acts? How many more families have to grieve before government acts?" Cuomo told reporters Wednesday in Rochester. "In my opinion, enough innocent people have lost their lives. Something has to be done."
The Siena poll was conducted while the debate was going on and after the law was signed. It was conducted Jan. 10-15 to 676 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
Seventy-three percent of voters supported banning assault weapons and magazine clips of more than seven bullets, which is part of the new law. Ninety-one percent said they supported increasing penalties for illegal gun purchases or for using guns on school grounds.
The poll showed strong backing for some of Cuomo's other proposals, which he will seek to have lawmakers pass during the session, which runs through June.
Voters supported increasing the minimum wage 83 percent to 15 percent. Cuomo wants to increase it from $7.25 to $8.75. Voters backed public-campaign financing by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent.
"The momentum exists for New York to be successful in creating a system of public financing of elections during this legislative session," said Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action, in a statement.
For more information on the Siena poll, visit www.siena.edu/sri