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Democratic chairmen vote to support Zellner

      A plan to introduce a vote of "no confidence" in Erie County Democratic Chairman Jeremy J. Zellner at the Tuesday meeting of the Democratic Town Chairs Association never materialized, Zellner said this morning.
   Aurora Chairwoman Mary Alice Grant said last week she would sponsor the resolution, but sources at the meeting said she did not attend.
   Instead, Zellner said a vote supporting his chairmanship was introduced. He said that passed 18 to 0, with Cheektowaga Chairman Frank C. Max Jr. abstaining.

Poll finds 'fracking' divide in New York; support for deBlasio tax plan

   By Robert J. McCarthy

Hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas recovery method better known as “fracking,” continues to divide New Yorkers.   
   According to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today, 44 percent support drilling because of economic benefits while 46 percent oppose drilling due to environmental concerns.  Upstate voters are divided with 44 percent for drilling and 47 percent opposed.  New York City voters are opposed 51 to 38 percent and suburban voters support drilling 52 to 39 percent.

Cuomo is dragging his feet to avoid making a decision on fracking, 39 percent of voters say, while 21 percent say he is carefully considering the matter, with 38 percent undecided.

   Across the state, the new poll shows voters support New York Mayor-elect Bill deBlasio’s plans to increase city income taxes of households making more than $500,000 and using the money for public schools in the city.
    Support for the tax hike is 81 to 15 percent among Democrats and 61 to 33 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 58 to 39 percent, the poll finds.  Voters in every region support the idea, 68 to 30 percent in New York City, 55 to 42 percent in the suburbs and 64 to 29 percent upstate.

            Creating jobs should be the top priority for Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature in their 2014 election year, 37 percent of voters say, followed by:

·         22 percent for reducing taxes;

·         21 percent for cleaning up corruption;

·         18 percent for increasing funding for public schools.

“New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s campaign issue, raising taxes on the well-to-do in the city to pay for improvements in education, wins solid approval in every corner of the state, except among Republicans.  And Republican State Senators still have a lot to say about what happens in Albany,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Note that only 18 percent of voters list increased funding for schools as a top priority.  How much voter anger do legislators face if the de Blasio tax hike never sees the light of day?”
   New York State voters agree 62 to 33 percent that state government is dysfunctional.  There is no party, gender, racial, income, age or regional group that disagrees.  A total of 82 percent of voters say government corruption is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem.

Cuomo, not legislative leaders, should have primary responsibility for cleaning up legislative corruption, voters say 51 to 36 percent.  But 24 percent of voters say Cuomo’s anti-corruption efforts are mainly “to pressure the legislature into supporting his agenda,” while 19 percent say his efforts “are mainly being used to reduce corruption,”  with 55 percent undecided.

New York State voters disapprove 53 to 34 percent of the job the State Legislature is doing, but they approve 48 to33 percent of the job their local Assembly member is doing and approve 56 to29 percent of their state senator.

Voters disapprove 44 to 26 percent of the job Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is doing. 

Fifty percent of voters are undecided about State Senate co-Leader Dean Skelos and 59 percent are undecided about State Senate co-Leader Jeff Klein.

Voters oppose 52 to 38 percent public financing of state elections.  Democratic approval is 48 to 39 percent, and New York City voters are divided, with 46 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. Republicans and independents, upstate and suburban voters all are opposed.




New polls show Cuomo leading potential GOP rivals

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – Rob who?

If New York’s gubernatorial election was held today, Gov. Andrew Cuomo would beat Republican Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino 56 percent to 25 percent, as 84 percent of registered voters say they don’t know enough about Astorino to form an opinion of him, a new poll finds.

Quinnipiac University also found improvements in Cuomo’s overall job approval rating, which had fallen in the first half of the year. It now stands at 62 percent favorable to 25 percent unfavorable in the poll released this morning.

Another poll, released Monday and which Cuomo administration officials forwarded to reporters to make sure they saw, put Cuomo even further ahead in a hypothetical match-up against undeclared Republicans. In a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll, Cuomo would beat Astorino 65 percent to 23 percent. He would defeat other potential challengers if the election was held today, including Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, by about the same margin, the poll found.

Cuomo, who was in Rochester for a fundraiser Monday night following a campaign money gathering event in Buffalo last week, leads Astorino in every breakout group except among Republicans in the Quinnipiac poll. Among upstate voters, Cuomo is ahead 45 percent to 34 percent. Astorino, who has not decided whether he will challenge Cuomo next year, has been touted by GOP Chairman Ed Cox, who was with Astorino last week during a trip to Arizona to meet GOP governors, donors and party officials at the Republican Governor’s Association meeting.

By a margin of 59 percent to 31 percent, poll respondents said they believe Cuomo deserves to be re-elected. The Quinnipiac poll has a 2.7 percent margin of error.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll found Cuomo’s job performance rating has slipped from 54 percent in April to 52 percent today. Upstate voters gave him a 47 percent positive job approval rating, while 56 percent of New York City voters rated his performance positively.

That poll also found Cuomo would beat New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie among New York voters in a hypothetical 2016 presidential race by 51 percent to 44 percent. And yet a third poll – released last week by Siena College – found Christie beating Cuomo 47 percent to 42 percent among New York voters. Cuomo has insisted he is not running for president while Christie has not stated his intentions.

Cuomo on Pataki float to cut personal income tax: No

By Tom Precious

ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is not interested in tinkering with the state’s personal income tax rates, shooting down a trial balloon that former Gov. George Pataki will press a Cuomo tax advisory panel on which he sits to lower personal income taxes for all New Yorkers, including millionaires.

Instead, Cuomo said he wants to find ways to reduce the burden property taxes in 2014. “It’s the most oppressive tax that New Yorkers pay, so that’s why we’re going to focus on that,’’ Cuomo told reporters this morning in a telephone conference call.

Cuomo named Pataki, along with former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, to an advisory panel to make recommendations on cutting taxes, asking that they especially concentrate on property and business taxes.

“You put people on a commission, they can talk about whatever they want to talk about,’’ Cuomo said.

During the early part of his administration, Pataki in the mid-1990s made cutting New York’s personal income tax rates a top priority, so it is no surprise, as the Wall Street Journal reported today, that the former Republican governor would want to take the state there again.

The governor made his comments after announcing an increase of $4.5 million in state aid to 46 emergency food providers around the state; the funding comes after a federal reduction this month in money to the government’s main food assistance program for poor people, a move that cost $300 million for New Yorkers.

In a subsequent question and answer with reporters, Cuomo also shot down a New York Post story reporting that New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie told Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino that he would support him if he ran against Democrat Cuomo next year. Christie is the new chairman of the Republican Governor's Association, which pumps millions into targeted gubernatorial races. Cuomo said he talked to Christie this morning “who told me the exact opposite.”

Video: Cuomo's jaunts to Buffalo focus on jobs, campaign fundraising

The governor trekked to Buffalo three times this week. Bob McCarthy talks with Brian Meyer about trips that promised new jobs, raised campaign funds and triggered protests:

Thursday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Atop today's must-reads there's this New York Times piece about the Republican war plan against Obamacare.

Meantime, The Washington Post notes that on the health exchanges, insurers are holding down costs by limiting choices.

And the Post also offers a fascinating in-depth look at Rep. Trey Radel, the Florida Republican who was busted for cocaine possession.

Wednesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's top read, from the New York Times, shows that President Obama has won some surprising allies in his vow to allow people to keep health policies that had been canceled.

Meanwhile, The Hill tells us that Obama has hit a new low among Democrats.

And Politico notes that there's hope for a budget deal after all.

Videos & photos of protesters gathered downtown for Cuomo appearance

News Photographer Harry Scull Jr. has filed the following videos and photos of protesters gathering near the Hyatt on Pearl Street in advance of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's appearance at a fundraiser tonight.

Check shortly for a full story from News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro.


Continue reading "Videos & photos of protesters gathered downtown for Cuomo appearance" »

Paladino encourages protest at Cuomo fundraiser

   By Robert J. McCarthy

   Buffalo real estate developer Carl P. Paladino is acting very much like a candidate for governor once again.

   The 2010 Republican opponent of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo bought local radio time today to encourage an anti-Cuomo protest at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo this evening during the governor's big Western New York fundraiser.

   Paladino's ads encourage those who disagree with Cuomo's positions on gun control and casino gambling as well as his delay in approving or disapproving the hydraulic fracturing method of natural gas recovery in New York State to show up en masse at the Hyatt this evening.

   The event is expected to draw several hundred Cuomo supporters and garner $300,000 to $400,000 for the governor's re-election effort, according to organizers.


Tuesday's must-reads from Washington

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- Today's top read, from The Washington Post, tells us that a consultant warned the Obama administration about's problems last spring.

Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times notes a bright spot in the Obamacare rollout.

And NPR delves deep into one of the root causes behind the sprawl of the National Security Agency's spying.

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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |