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Q Poll: Cuomo Part of the Corruption 'Problem', But Popular Anyway

A whopping 83 percent of New York voters think state government corruption is either a very or somewhat serious problem, and close to half (48 percent) believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo is contributing to the mess, according to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning.

Forty-one percent of those polled said Cuomo is part of the solution to the swamp that has engulfed Albany. 

Concern over corruption and the governor's role in combatting it (or failing to do so) has so far not had much of an impact on either his favorability rating or his lead over all challengers in the fall elections. 

Cuomo continues to enjoy a massive lead over his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, trouncing him 56-28, which is virtually unchanged from 57-28 in a May Q poll (conducted well before the Moreland mess heated up, thanks to a July 23 New York Times report). 

As for Cuomo's Democratic primary challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, 88 percent of New Yorkers have no idea who she is. Ditto (or nearly, at 89 percent) for Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins. 

"Is the governor's race all over? Did it ever start?" said Q pollster Mickey Carroll.

"Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino gets only the standard Republican numbers. Voters give Gov. Cuomo a big lead and say he deserves reelection." 

"First, Cuomo has the primary challenge from Zephyr Teachout, who's about as anonymous as a candidate can be," Carroll added. 

The governor's favorability rating is 55-36, and 57-28 approve of the job he has been doing. Fifty-three percent of voters say Cuomo deserves to be re-elected, which is about the same as in May. 

Fifty percent of voters disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling ethics in government, but 50 percent also say he's honest and trustworthy. 

Of the 51 percent who have read or heard anything about the governor's decision to shutter the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, 77 percent say the shutdown was a political deal with legislative leaders while 11 percent say the decision was good government.

Even Cuomo's fellow Democrats believe - 68-15 -that the demise of Moreland was the result of a political deal.

Forty-six percent of all voters think the feds should continue the defunct commission's work, though another 46 percent said they haven't heard enough about this issue to have an opinion one way or the other. 

Unshackle Upstate Steers Clear of Statewide Races - for Now

The pro-business, anti-tax organization Unshackle Upstate released its 2013-14 legislative scorecards yesterday, indicating which Assembly members and senators are likely to receive its endorsement this fall. 

But Unshackle has decided not to pick sides just yet in any of the statewide races, although the group's executive director, Brian Sampson, was not shy about indicating during a CapTon interview last night which way his board is leaning. 

"We've had initial conversations...about what we want to with the statewide races, and we've made a determination at this point we're not going to engage," Sampson told me. 

"However, we do have concerns about where certain individuals are aligned and what they're pushing for relative to the Working Family Party and the Senate going back to New York City control, which would be bad for us and upstate. We're going to have to see where things go."

"...We're going to engage in a few primaries where we think it's important," Sampson continued. "Then after Labor Day I'll be getting my board back together to discuss what we want to do both in local elects and in statewide races."

Unshackle's rules require unanimous consent among board members for endorsements.

In 2010, the Rochester-based lobbying group sat out the governor's race, declining to back either Cuomo (then the state attorney general) or his GOP challenger, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

It did endorse Republican hedge fund manager Harry Wilson for state comptroller, but he lost in a very tight race to the Democratic incumbent, Tom DiNapoli. 

Based on its scorecards, it's easy to see that Unshackle will be siding with the Senate Republicans again this year, though one Democrat - Syracuse's Dave Valesky, an IDC member - scored high enough (88) to be considered for the group's nod. (A lawmaker must score 85 or higher to be endorsement eligible). 

That's a switch for Valesky, according to Sampson. In 2012, the Central New York Democrat received a 72.  

In the Assembly, just one Democrat - Buffalo's Robin Schimminger, who tends to vote on the conservative side, especially when it comes to fiscal and tax matters - made the cut for Unshackle's endorsement consideration. He received a 94. 

Happening Today

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public schedule.

At 8:30 a.m., as part of its Executive Breakfast Series, the Long Island Association will host the Executive Director of the New York and New Jersey Port Authority, Patrick Foye, 300 Broadhollow Rd., Melville.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Councilmen Dan Garodnick and Brad Lander and advocates promote two bills that would require additional disclosure on political campaign mailers of candidates and groups involved in sending the mailers; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 9:30 a.m., Brian Jones, the Green Party candidate for LG, will speak at a protest on wage theft and the minimum wage, 75 Varrick St. (in front of the state Labor Department), Manhattan. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout is also expected to attend.

Also at 9:30 a.m., the New York State Fair butter sculpture is unveiled, TWC News will air the momentous event live.

At 10:15 a.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul visits the Bayside Senior Center with Assemblyman David Weprin, 221-15 Horace Harding Expressway, Bayside, Queens.

At 10:30 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes an announcement, SUNY Purchase, University Police Department Office, 735 Anderson Hill Rd., Purchase.

At 11 a.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio attends an interfaith roundtable with New York City clergy members hosted by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, 452 Madison Ave., Manhattan. (A media availability will follow, though the meeting is closed to the press).

Also at 11 a.m., the FDNY Union of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association endorses Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos, Hochul, and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Russo’s on the Bay, 162-45 Cross Bay Blvd., Howard Beach, Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., LG Bob Duffy makes remarks at the Lion Heart Residences of Cohoes groundbreaking, 51 Manor Ave., Cohoes.

Also at 11 a.m., representatives of the statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and community, government and union officials call for the mayor to disclose more details about efforts to award contracts to businesses owned by minority residents and women, and seek a federal investigation of changes in city laws regulating certification of such businesses; steps, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 11:30 a.m., GOP AG candidare John Cahill attends the Dutchess County senior picnic, Freedom Park, 212 Skidmore Rd., LaGrange.

Also at 11:30 a.m., Assemblyman Felix Ortiz and health experts hold a press conference to discuss an annual study assessing the health of adults, 404 55th St., Brooklyn.

At 12:30 p.m., Duffy marks remarks at the at the Tech Valley High School ribbon cutting ceremony, Tech Valley High School, SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, 246 Tricentennial Dr., Albany.

Also at 12:30 p.m., Cahill attends the Dutchess County Fair, 6550 Spring Brook Ave., Rhinebeck.

From 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Rep. Dan Maffei will answer questions live on for the first time in the NY-24 campaign.

At 3 p.m., Cahill highlights step one in his plan to fight corruption in Albany, Robert Abrams Building for Law and Justice, (in front of building on State Street, across from the state Capitol), Albany.

At 4:30 p.m., Real Affordability for All, Rev. Michael Walrond and others hold march to escalate a campaign urging developers to set aside 50 percent of all new apartments as real affordable units, First Corinthian Baptist Church, 1912 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd., Manhattan.

At 6 p.m., Rep. Charlie Rangel attends a campaign event for former NYC Councilman/Senate candidate Robert Jackson, 193 Malcolm X Blvd., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., Chemung County Sheriff and GOP LG candidate Chris Moss attends and speaks at the Ulster County Conservative Committee Dinner, La Mirage Restaurant and Catering, 423 Broadway St., Ulster Park.

On CapTon Last Night: 

- Here's a link to my full interview with Unshackle's Brian Sampson, which is referenced above. 

- Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey joined me from NYC to explain the "Vote Yes for Progress" campaign that urges New Yorkers to support the redistricting constitutional amendment that will appear on the November ballot.

Good government groups are divided over the amendment, and some are even suing over the ballot language, which Dadey insists its both fair and accurate. 

- The Insiders - Brendan Quinn and Ed Draves - were in the studio to discuss Cuomo's rocky relationship with labor, labor's on-again/off-again relationship with the Senate Republicans and the proliferation of independent ballot lines in the November elections. 

- Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York came into the studio to give his side of the story in an ongoing controversy about an anti-Scaffold Law report commissioned and - according to opponents - inappropriately influenced by his organization. 

Coming up on CapTon:

- PEF's Susan Kent will be in the studio to discuss her union's endorsements, including the decision to back Teachout over Cuomo in the Democratic primary. 

- Democrat Patti Southworth, the former Ballston Spa supervisor, will drop by to explain her campaign to oust veteran GOP Sen. Hugh Farley in the 49th SD.

Southworth has to survive the primary against Farley's 2012 challenger, Madelyn Throne, who has institutional party support and the WFP's backing) before she can turn her attention to the general election. 

- NFIB's Mike Durant will be in to review the results of his organization's legislative voting report in advance of the fall elections. 


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