Democratic Gov. Cuomo is viewed favorably by 66% of New York voters and 57% are ready to give him a second term, a Siena poll released Monday finds. But Bridgegate has eroded the Garden State gov's image among his neighbors -- including when it comes to his presidential prospects.
Republican Christie's favorability rating stands at 49% -- a precipitous drop from the 63% approval he enjoyed among New Yorkers in November, before the George Washington Bridge stew really boiled over.
“As he enters his re-election year, Cuomo is sitting pretty," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. "His favorability rating is the strongest it’s been since February. His job performance rating is the best it’s been since March. And more voters are prepared to re-elect him than at any time since last January.”
Let's start with the premise that Cuomo gets re-elected no matter what - his campaign donation war chest, his approval numbers and the relative weakness of the Republican Party in NY State guarantee that.
Let's also start with the premise that simply getting re-elected does not make Sheriff Andy happy - he wants to run up the score as much as possible to claim viability for his 2016 presidential run (assuming Hillary Clinton doesn't run, of course.)
Now Cuomo is helped by Chris Christie's implosion next door in Jersey - Christie won re-election by 22.5%, which was going to be one measure Cuomo was going to have to vault in order to say he was as viable a candidate for president as Christie was.
With Christie's presidential ambitions pretty much down the drain post-BridgeGate and the Hoboken/Sandy allegations, Cuomo doesn't necessarily have to beat Christie's 2013 re-election numbers or even worry about Christie as a potential 2016 rival anymore.
Nonetheless he still wants a smooth re-election campaign, a big re-election number and the opportunity to tout himself as a governor with bipartisan appeal and high approval and popularity.
This is where parents and teachers around the state opposed to the Cuomo education reform agenda come into play.
Cuomo has said he will brook no changes to his APPR teacher evaluation system - the one that mandates all those extra high stakes tests given to students across the state - and while he has said the Legislature will look into changes to the Common Core implementation, those changes will amount to nothing if the teacher evaluation system continues to mandate all that extra testing.
In addition, Cuomo has stayed mum on the inBloom data project that has so many parents up in arms around the state, as SED plans to give confidential student information to Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch as part of a state-wide education database.
Parents and teachers opposed to these Cuomo policies - and they are Cuomo policies - can throw a monkey wrench into Cuomo's smooth re-election plans by showing up at every Cuomo campaign affair and appearance and protesting his policies.
Make no mistake, you will not stop Cuomo's re-election by protesting him and his policies at every campaign stop and appearance, but you will make an impression on both Cuomo and the press corps covering him and you can take some percentage points off his re-election totals by
a) not voting for him
b) raising awareness for why other parents around the state should not vote for him and
c) garnering coverage of the rising parent and teacher rebellion over the state's education reform agenda around the state and making sure people know this is Andrew Cuomo's agenda.
The point here is to hurt Cuomo enough to harm his presidential ambitions for 2016.
He wants to run as a bipartisan governor who brings almost all New Yorkers together.
The truth is, Cuomo is a divisive governor, an autocratic governor, who says "I am the government" and anybody who is "too extreme" doesn't belong in the state.
It's time to expose him to the nation as that divisive figure, that autocrat who imposes unpopular policies like inBloom and APPR and says "If you don't like it, you can move to Connecticut."
Do not think inevitability is every baked into the cake in politics.
Just three months ago, Christie looked to be the strongest candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.
Now he's going to be fortunate if he avoids impeachment and jail.