A broad majority of New Yorkers do not have a negative or positive opinion on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s anti-corruption Moreland Commission, but do want the body to continue to pursue legislative corruption, a Siena College poll this morning found.

At the same time, the poll found 77 percent of voters believe corruption in state government is a widespread problem that needs to be dealt with, and 82 percent polled say it’s a problem especially in the Legislature.

“Well, New Yorkers may not know what the Moreland Commission is, or what it does, or who its members are.
They don’t even rate the Moreland Commission among the top three corruption-busters. But if the choice is for
the Moreland Commission to disband or to continue investigating political corruption, the answer is clear. Keep
investigating, New Yorkers say, including at least 70 percent of voters from every party and region of the state,”
said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

In other words, the short-term pain of Moreland’s troubles may be worth it in the long run for the governor.

The results come despite a series of news reports that found the commission members squelched subpoenas to allies of the governor, including the Real Estate Board of New York and the state Democratic Committee.

Adding to Moreland’s headaches, news broke on Capital New York that District Attorney Kathleen Rice had received a contribution to her re-election camapign from a vendor due to receive a lucrative software contract from the commission.

Last week, the commission reversed course and issued subpoenas to all housekeeping or “soft money” accounts that benefit legislative conferences and political parties, including the Democratic Committee.

And despite questions over the role Cuomo or his staff may have played in halting subpoenas to sensitive interests, the survey found a plurality of voters believe the governor is doing the most to eliminate corruption.

Twenty-four percent of voters give Cuomo credit for anti-corruption efforts, followed by federal prosecutors at 19 percent and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at 13 percent.

The Moreland Commission itself is given credit for anti-corruption efforts by seven percent of voters.

Cuomo himself continues to enjoy strong job approval and popularity ratings.

The governor, who faces re-election next year, is viewed favorably by 62 percent of voters, down slightly from 64 percent last month.

His job performance, which dipped to below 49 percent in the last Siena poll, is back up to 52 percent.

More significantly, 52 percent of voters say they would back the governor for re-election, with 38 percent saying they would pick a generic “someone else.”

Crosstabs show Cuomo would be backed by 63 percent of New York City residents, 54 percent of suburbanites and 40 percent of upstaters.

Before he faces re-election, voters will consider one of the governor’s own top priorities, casino expansion.

Cuomo pushed the plan to allow non-Indian casinos in parts of the upstate region, with voters due to consider an amendment next month.

The Siena poll found the state is closely divided on a generic question of whether to allow non-Indian casino gambling, 49 percent to 45 percent. But when read the controversial ballot language that includes what supporters have deemed the benefits of casino gambling, support grows to 56 percent and opposition shrinks to 40 percent — a similar result from last month.

A legal challenge to remove the ballot language from a Brooklyn-based attorney fizzled last week after a state judge tossed the suit.

“It’s clear the wording of the casino amendment that voters will see on their ballots is influential in moving voters to support the amendment, particularly Democrats and New York City voters,” Greenberg said.

The poll of 822 registered voters was conducted from Oct. 14 through Oct. 16 and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Siena poll crosstabs, Oct. 21. by embenjamin2001