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Conservative New Yorkers Trust Cuomo Over Trump On State Reopening, Poll Finds

New York voters overwhelmingly trust Gov. Andrew Cuomo more than they do President Donald Trump to decide when to reopen their state, according to a new Siena College Research Institute poll. Respondents said they trust Cuomo over Trump by a 78-16% margin.

In the poll, Republican and conservative voters also said they prefer the Democratic governor's judgment on the issue to Trump's, with 56% and 57%, respectively, favoring the governor.

"When it comes to whom New Yorkers trust more to make decisions about reopening the state and its economy — the President or the Governor — it's not even close," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, according to a press release.

More specifically, the poll finds broad support for two of Cuomo's executive orders. The governor's extension of non-essential business closures until at least mid-May gets an 87% overall approval rating among New Yorkers. Even higher, the order that residents must wear protective masks in public has an approval rating of 92%.

"While you cannot find a single issue that would generate unanimous support from all 12 million New York voters, Cuomo's order that face masks or coverings must be worn in public...comes as close as any issue Siena College has ever polled," Greenberg said.

Cuomo's favorability rating is currently up to an all-time high of 77%, according to the poll. That's a turnaround from just two months ago, when anotherSiena poll found the governor's approval rating was negative, with 63% of respondents saying he was doing a "fair" or "poor" job. Just over a year ago, a February 2019 poll marked Cuomo's favorability at an all-time low.

The governor's daily press briefings have become the subject of national attention, especially in contrast to those of the president. Cuomo's briefings garner a mixed bag of reactions on social media, but one common praise point is the New York governor's frankness in presenting harrowing facts.

"Cuomo's daily briefings are a case study in transparency and truth to build trust," wrote Linda Peek Schatch, a former Carter administration official, in a piece for the Brookings Institution. "Unlike Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men," Cuomo believes the American people can handle the truth."

In contrast, Trump has been criticized for his performance at daily White House briefings – and on Monday, there was confusion over whether the president would continue to hold future briefings.

As NPR's Ayesha Rascoe reports:

"Trump has faced criticism from opponents about the way he's handled these briefings — spending much of his time sparring with reporters and often contradicting his own medical experts. Even some of the president's supporters have complained that the briefings detract from the administration's message."

The poll by Siena, which is located just outside of Albany, also reveals how widespread the crisis is in New York.

Nearly one-third of all respondents said they personally know someone who has died from COVID-19. That number is higher for Latino and African American or black respondents: around half of each group say they know someone killed by the virus.

As of Monday afternoon, the state has confirmed more than 290,000 cases and more than 22,500 deaths, according todata compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Siena poll was conducted from April 19 to 23, in a survey of 803 New York State registered voters via phone and the Internet. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.7%.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Lynsey Jeffery