Today’s Siena poll finds New Yorkers continue to be hotly divided – 40-40 – on the question of whether the state should allow the controversial natural gas drilling process known as fracking in the Marcellus Shale.

Voters in the Southern Tier, which would be ground zero for fracking if it’s approved, are just as torn on the topic – 47-48 – even though they ostensibly would benefit the most form it (and be hurt the most by it as well).

After reviewing arguments both in support of and against fracking and limitations that DEC could impose, 45 percent of voters statewide were in support of the idea and 42 percent continued to oppose it (50-46 percent among voters in the Southern Tier).

“The governor is in a position that chief executives hate: Making a decision on a controversial issue where voters are split down the middle,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.

“Unlike his position on guns, which angered a vocal minority, Cuomo’s decision on fracking is likely to anger far more voters – no matter what he decides.”

“However, fracking opponents will be much more upset if it moves forward than fracking supporters will be if it does not.”

If fracking moves forward, 88 percent of opponents will be upset, including 54 percent who will be very upset, Greenberg said.

If fracking does not move ahead, 59 percent of supporters will be upset, including 20 percent who will be very upset.

At the moment, 67 percent of voters have a favorable view of Cuomo and 29 percent view him unfavorably – down from 71-24 percent last month.

His 58-41 percent job performance rating is down slightly from 60-38 percent.

And 56 percent of voters are prepared to re-elect him, while 36 percent would prefer someone else (down from 60-32 percent).

That’s a less significant drop than what was reported in last week’s Q poll, which found Cuomo’s December job approval rating of 74-13 had dropped to 59-28 percent thanks to the governor’s success in getting the Legislature to approve the SAFE Act.

According to the Siena poll, more Republicans – 54 percent – now have an unfavorable view of Cuomo than have a favorable view for the first time in his tenure as governor.

And although a majority of upstaters continue to view Cuomo favorably, his favorability rating among upstaters fell to 54-41 percent, down from 61-31 percent last month, Greenberg said.

The SAFE Act has strong support across the board, with nearly two-thirds of voters – including strong majorities of Democrats, independents and downstaters – in favor.

It is opposed by a majority of Republicans, conservatives and voters from the Southern Tier, and it has only tepid support from the rest of upstate voters.

Siena Poll Feb. 4 by embenjamin2001