New Yorkers aren't pleased with a new millionaire's tax increase billed by politicians as a tax cut, but they like Gov. Andrew Cuomo more than ever, even after he broke two big campaign promises in his first year.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows just over half of voters give the Democrat a grade of "B'' this year. Another 25 percent give him a "C'' or average grade while he gets an "A'' from 10 percent.
Just 38 percent of voters approve of the tax increase that includes a small but rare tax cut to the middle class worth about $300 to most families.
The poll also shows a plurality of voters say Cuomo didn't keep his vow to stop tax increases or to end backroom dealing.
Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll said the speed with which Cuomo sealed a tax deal behind closed doors with the majority legislative leaders, then rushed the bill to floor votes, may have confused voters.
"That transparent government that Gov. Cuomo promised? Opaque is more like it," Carroll said. "A lot of voters think that, in the quickie tax deal, Cuomo broke his promise to end Albany's tradition of 'three men in a room.'"
The deal was Cuomo's latest major initiative, including the budget and legalizing gay marriage, which was rushed from closed-door deal to lawmakers desks for a quick vote, suspending the three days' public notice usually required under law.
"Anyone will tell you the most effective form of government is a dictatorship, but that's not our system," Carroll said in an interview. "But people don't seem to care. Look at his approval ratings, in every area."
Cuomo hit a 68-percent rate of approval, his highest in the poll. That includes 71 percent approval by Democrats, 69 percent by important independent voters, and 63 percent by Republicans. He is strongest in the New York City suburbs and upstate and weakest in New York City.
The poll questioned 1,143 voters Dec. 12-18 and has a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.