Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Q Poll: Fracking Opposition Hits New High

Forty-eight percent of New Yorkers are opposed to drilling in the Marcellus Shale due to environmental concerns, a Quinnipiac poll released this morning found.

That’s the highest level of opposition to the controversial natural gas drilling technique found by the Q poll since it has been tracking voters’ opinions on this issue.

The previous high was in March 2013, when 46 percent said they opposed fracking, while 39 percent were in favor.

In the poll released today, 43 percent of respondents said they support drilling in the Marcellus due to its potential economic benefits. Nine percent had no opinion on the issue.

Last month, New Yorkers were evenly divided on the drilling question, 44-45.

In today’s survey, upstate voters support drilling 48-44, while New York City residents are opposed, 55-35, and suburban voters are divided, with 47 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed.

Forty-one percent said they believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been dragging his feet in an effort to avoid a decision on drilling, while 20 percent believe him when he says he has been carefully evaluating the issue.

“New York State voters remain closely divided on the issue of natural gas drilling – or fracking – but opinion has been shifting ever so slightly against it,” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll.

During his (soggy) visit to the State Fair yesterday, Cuomo encountered a few anti-fracking demonstrators who actually yelled their thanks to him for the seemingly never-ending review of drilling that has become a de facto moratorium.

There were more protestors elsewhere on the fairgrounds, and they were visited by Cuomo’s Democratic gubernatorial primary challenger, Zephyr Teachout, and Green Party candidate for governor Howie Hawkins – both of whom have expressed opposition to fracking.

Cuomo later told reporters there was “nothing new” to report on the fracking front.

Last November, Cuomo said a decision on whether to green light fracking in the Marcellus would likely come before this year’s elections.

But that turned out to be was just one of a long string of “just around the corner” comments from the governor and other administration officials that have yet to bear fruit.

GOP Primary Challenge to Libous Back On

The fall elections have become a bit more complicated for Sen. Tom Libous, the Senate GOP’s second highest-ranking member who is suffering from both legal and health problems.

A mid-level appeals court yesterday reinstated Libous’ GOP primary challenger, Tioga County businessman Denver Jones, overturning a lower court ruling that Jones’ campaign failed to submit enough petition signatures to get him onto the Sept. 9 ballot.

The state Board of Elections had ruled that 743 of the 1,713 signatures Jones submitted were invalid, leaving him 30 short of the 1,000 required for ballot access.

A state Supreme Court justice subsequently determined on Aug. 18 that Jones’ petitions were permeated with fraud, leaving him with 835 signatures.

The Supreme Court Appellate Division determined that Jones had not, in fact, engaged in fraud by “falsely attesting to signatures he knew to be inauthentic.” (There’s an incident at a pizza parlor described in the ruling that’s a little confusing).

Also, the appeals court rejected arguments by Broome County Republican Party Vice Chairman Paul Van Savage, who initially challenged the validity of Jones’ petitions, that individuals who circulated the petitions were either ineligible to do so or did not correctly collect signatures.

The appeals court restored all 203 signatures on Jones’ petitions that had been ruled invalid by either the state Board or the Supreme Court, bringing his tally back up to 1,173.

This is not the last word on Jones’ petitions, however, since the appeals court returned the case to the state Supreme Court for further consideration.

In the meantime, Jones’ camp is declaring at least a partial victory, with the candidate’s attorney telling the Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin that the ruling was “a huge step in the right direction.”

A Libous spokesman lamented the fact that the appellate court didn’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision, but said the senator looks forward to “running on his record.”

Libous was not considered particularly vulnerable this fall, despite the fact that he has been battling terminal cancer. But his indictment in July on charges that he lied to federal investigators about allegedly helping his son get a job at a politically connected law firm changed that.

The senator also has a Democratic challenger, former Vestal Town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak, who suggested during a recent Capital Tonight interview that Southern Tier voters need someone more “energetic” and less distracted to represent their interests in Albany.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Albany with no public schedule.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is in the city with no public events scheduled.

At 8 a.m., GOP AG candidate John Cahill attends a meet-and-greet with Assembly Candidate Ben Zacharias, Biscotti Café & Gelateria, 741 N Salina St., Syracuse.

At 10 a.m., Democratic gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout will be a guest on “Live from the state Capitol with Fred Dicker,” Talk 1300 AM.

Also at 10 a.m., AG Eric Schneiderman makes a public safety announcement, New York State Fair, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse.

Also at 10 a.m., Albany mayor Kathy Sheehan holds a press conference on new urban transportation options, Albany City Hall, 24 Eagle St., Albany.

At 10:30 a.m., former NYC Councilman and state Senate candidate John Liu unveils a veterans plan, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Kissena Park, Queens.

At noon, Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino holds a roundtable lunch with Orangetown elected officials and business leaders, Del’ Arte Restaurant, 20 Mountain View Ave., Orangeburg.

At 12:15 p.m., Democratic LG candidate Kathy Hochul visits the Town of West Seneca Senior Center, 4620 Seneca St., West Seneca.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Cahill will attend Law Enforcement Day at the State Fair, 581 State Fair Blvd., Syracuse.

At 12:30 p.m., GOP state comptroller candidate/Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci and DeWitt Police Chief Gene Conway will be the masters of ceremony at an event honoring law enforcement officers at the Veterans Memorial, in front of the Horticulture Building, NYS Fair.

At 1:30 p.m., Astorino tours the Rockland Bakery, 94 Demarest Mill Rd., Nanuet.

At 2:15 p.m., Hochul attends the Fredonia Farm Festival with local elected officials, East and West Parks, Fredonia.

Also at 2:15 p.m., Astorino holds a press conference on his jobs plan, Cal-Mart Enterprises Inc., 4 Burts Rd., Congers.

At 3:20 p.m., Hochul meets with Chautauqua County Democratic leaders, The Brick Room Restaurant, 49 W. Main St., Fredonia.

At 3:30 p.m., Astorino attends a meeting with Spring Valley clergy, St. Joseph’s School, 245 North Main St., Spring Valley.

At 5:30 p.m., Astorino attends the Dutchess County Fair, 6550 Springbrook Ave., Rhinebeck.

At 7:05 p.m., Hochul attends a Buffalo Bisons Game, Coca-Cola Field, 275 Washington St., Buffalo.

Headlines…

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle calls on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to debate his opponents, defend his record and lay out his vision for the next four years.

Casey Seiler: “Before the debates, we have the debates over the debates.”

During his first bid for governor in 2002, Cuomo was happy to debate then-state Comptroller Carl McCall before the Democratic primary. “This is what campaigns should be all about: a good, honest discussion on the issues,” Cuomo said at the time.

Cuomo’s campaign has filled out and returned a questionnaire to the National Organization for Women’s New York Chapter seeking the organization’s endorsement.

Rain marred Cuomo’s day at the State Fair, which was also attended by all of his gubernatorial challengers.

At the fair, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino ordered a sandwich with half spicy, half sweet sausage and gave the other halves to Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci, the GOP state comptroller candidate. “It’s got a kick to it,” Astorino said of his meal.

The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce is warning local merchants to consider closing their doors on Saturday in case violence breaks out during the Rev. Al Sharpton’s march against police brutality.

But the prospect of thousands of protesters has unnerved some along the march’s route, a neighborhood marked by small storefronts and government office buildings with a smattering of homes.

Hundreds of NYPD officers have been ordered to bring their “hats and bats” — helmets and old-school wooden nightsticks – to the march, though they’re not expecting violence.

In advance of Sharpton’s march, hundreds gathered on Staten Island to demonstrate their support of the NYPD.

More >

Extras

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and two of his three daughters got drenched at the State Fair. (Photos).

…and yes, he ate the sausage. (And he was not alone).

GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino’s spokeswoman said Cuomo might be “acting like a total jerk” in refusing to debate his primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout.

Top Cuomo aide Larry Schwartz’s personal email address starts with the handle “DemGuy9.”

There have been three nonbinding bids for the Buffalo Bills, according to Forbes magazine, and Sabres owner Terry Pegula’s bid of $890 million is the highest.

Cuomo’s forthcoming memoir appears to have expanded in length to 528 pages from somewhere in the 380-page range.

AG Eric Schneiderman announced a $16.65 billion settlement with Bank of America for its activity leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, marking the largest such settlement of all time.

The settlement is an attempt by the U.S. government to put an exclamation point on a string of crisis-era enforcement actions and lawsuits that’s cost U.S. banks more than $125 billion.

NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito will attend the Staten Island march to protest Eric Garner’s death in police custody, making her the highest-ranking elected official to commit to the protest.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Cuomo comfortably lead top GOP contenders in a hypothetical 2016 presidential match-up in New York, a new Q poll found.

After an uphill battle, the petitioners of the Willets West lawsuit have not prevailed.

An upstate Amish community became the center of unwanted attention after two girls were abducted, and then released.

Thanks to action by the Cuomo administration, the de Blasio administration can finally proceed with plans for a taxi medallion sale projected will garner the city $1.3 billion over three years.

Former Obama administration aide-turned-Assembly candidate Michael Blake has survived another residency challenge.

It’s LG Bob Duffy’s birthday.

Alan Chartock thinks Cuomo should have left Zephyr Teachout alone.

Rep. Dan Maffei today started airing his second TV ad of his 2014 re-election campaign, using local children to illustrate a message about the wage gap for women.

Queer Nation has a social media campaign targeting 34 House Democrats, including Brian Higgins, Sean Patrick Maloney and Charlie Rangel, for their support of ENDA’s sweeping religious exemption.

These things exist…but only in fairland. And if you’re going to the State Fair, you need this.

Astorino Hits the Road With Paladino

Remember way back when, when Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino was making threats about a second run for governor this fall unless the Republican Party picked a candidate who measured up to his conservative standards and supported ousting Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb?

Well, Paladino has come around since then – with a brief foray into the imaginary land of “Trump for governor” – and is now 100 percent on the Astorino campaign train – so much so that he’s headlining a two-day “convoy” with the candidate from Buffalo to Albany next month. The event kicks off with a rally in Buffalo on Sept. 6 and ends with another rally outside the Capitol the next day.

Along the way, there will be stops in Rochester, Syracuse and (a little randomly) Guilderland. Supporters are being invited to join the convoy in their personal vehicles. (In his email announcing this event, Paladino provided a link where would-be participants can register their cars).

Paladino continues to be a bit of a lightning rod for the Republicans. For example, just because he’s on board with Astorino does not mean he has given up criticizing state GOP Chairman Ed Cox – long a top target of the mad-as-hell 2010 GOP/Conservative gubernatorial candidate – as well as Kolb, Skelos and other people Paladino considers too “RINO” (Republican in name only) for his taste.

When he ran for governor, Paladino came under fire for his far right positions on a host of issues – especially same-sex marriage and abortion rights. He nevertheless managed to defeat Cuomo in Western New York in the general election, which has caused the governor to lavish attention (and state cash) on the region since he took office, and also was the driving motivation behind his selection of former Rep. Kathy Hochul as his running mate.

The Cuomo campaign is trying to portray Astorino as too “extreme” in his views to represent a Democrat-dominated state like New York. Hanging out with Paladino – while likely a popular move with the GOP and conservative grassroots – no doubt gives the governor and his allies more fodder with which to attack Cuomo’s GOP opponent.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Onondaga County and New York City. It’s Governor’s Day at the Great New York State Fair. Cuomo will attend, as will numerous other elected officials/candidates, including Westchester County Executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will attend a Compstat meeting at 1 Police Plaza today; the meeting will be closed to members of the press.

In the evening, de Blasio will host a reception with members of the City Hall press corps, Mayor’s Office press staff, and City Hall senior staff. This event is invite-only and “absolutely off the record.”

There’s a lot going on in New York politics today, so much so that the calendar takes up a lot of room, and so has been relocated to the end of this post.

Headlines…

NYC Mayor de Blasio convened a clergy summit yesterday to “send a message of peace and reconciliation” in advance of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s Staten Island rally against police brutality this weekend. Sharpton attended the meeting.

De Blasio: “We’ve experienced a tragedy with the death of Eric Garner, but this isn’t about a single incident or being mired in the past. This is about a very purposeful and consistent effort forward. It has to be done—it is a way of saving lives.”

Assemblyman Nick Perry of Brooklyn called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Garner’s death.

An appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that rejected Cuomo’s residency challenge to his Democratic primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout. She will remain on the Sept. 9 primary ballot, as the Cuomo campaign won’t appeal.

A new Quinnipiac University poll showed that 88 percent of registered voters haven’t heard enough about Teachout to have an opinion of her. Among those who have heard enough, just 6 percent view her favorably.

With the campaigns heating up, Cuomo hasn’t agreed to debate either his Republican opponent, Rob Astorino, or Teachout. So, the two are making plans to debate one another without him.

A former top aide to indicted Sen. John Sampson, Melvin Lowe, admitted during confidential meetings with prosecutors that he defrauded the DSCC out of $100,000 – and gave $75,000 of the money to “Senator #1.”

Citi Bike mechanics, station technicians and other employees who run New York City’s bicycle-sharing program could vote on whether to join a union as soon as next month following a decision by the National Labor Relations Board.

The Erie County School Board voted 6-2 in favor of last minute plans to lay off 63 teacher – the highest number laid off in years.

Cuomo served a subpoena on Marolda Properties, a Manhattan based landlord accused of trying to squeeze out rent-regulated tenants from their homes.

Amtrak will continue its tradition of providing train service to the Great New York State Fair, with five trains dropping passengers off daily for the 12 days of the fair, which runs from today to Monday, Sept. 1.

After the second scathing state audit of the City of Lockport’s finances in the past eight months – this one projecting that the city will run out of money next month – there was plenty of finger-pointing among local elected officials.

Sen. Sen. Malcolm Smith, facing federal corruption charges that could send him to prison for years, claimed in a NY1 debate that he has had “a stellar year” in Albany and ­deserves to be re-elected.

With 13 seats in the Legislature vacant – most since January – roughly two million New Yorkers are without a representative in the Senate or in the Assembly, nearly half of them black, Latino or Asian residents.

The Center for Popular Democracy, a labor-backed advocacy group that supports New York’s controversial Scaffold Law, wants to see all the drafts of a controversial report authored by SUNY’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government and paid for by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, a business-backed organization that opposes Scaffold Law.

Before long, registered lobbyists in New York will have to take a mandated online ethics training course through the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics.

Nassau County is facing a $71.6 million deficit by year’s end after a three-year employee wage freeze was lifted and sales tax revenues cratered, the county legislature’s budget office reported.

ConEd notified state regulators this week that it had sold the site of a proposed Islamic cultural center in Lower Manhattan that came to be known as the “ground zero mosque.”

NYC Councilman Ruben Wills, who faces jail time if he’s convicted on charges of stealing $30,000 in public funds, is introducing a bill requiring the city to inform prison inmates of their voting rights.

Police are investigating after activists unfurled a giant Palestinian flag from the Manhattan Bridge for a short time yesterday afternoon during a march in support for those in Gaza.

Six of the top 10 colleges with the highest percentage of late-night orders are from New York, with Syracuse University leading the list, a new analysis found.

Behold this year’s butter sculpture at the State Fair.

Happening today…

More >

Extras

In the wake of recent unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is still confident this weekend’s march on Staten Island against police brutality will be peaceful.

The Rev. Al Sharpton: “We must show the world that we are mature enough to allow a citizenry to question those in authority but respect them at the same time.”

Bronx Councilman Andy King warned Ferguson-style racial turmoil could come to New York if federal prosecutors don’t file charges against the cop who shot an unarmed black constituent, Ramarley Graham, in 2012.

A top AFL-CIO official said organized labor is witholding judgment on Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate.

Clinton will host a high-dollar fundraiser for the Democratic Women’s Senate Network at her home, along with Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Michael Bennet.

VP Joe Biden was in Connecticut.

LG Bob Duffy, a burgeoning Twitter star, had to go dark briefly because his account was hacked.

Zephyr Teachout: “From the beginning of talking to the WFP, I said I wanted to run in the Democratic primary. And nothing that happened at the WFP convention changed that.”

Jim Kelly got “great news” when he visited a New York City hospital today. There’s no physical evidence of the oral cancer for which he’s being treated.

A video appears to catch former Attorney General and current state Senate candidate Oliver Koppell dissing residents of the district he’s running to represent in Albany.

The NRA has launched a national ad campaign against former New York City Mayor Bloomberg, whose PAC is trying to make gun control a major issue in races across the country.

Three villages will receive state grants to assist in their dissolution plans.

Another FOIL has been filed in connection with a controversial Scaffold Law report paid for by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance.

The League of Women Voters announced the launch of Vote411.org, an electronic voter guide, for select primary races.

A NYC Council committee passed legislation requiring stricter independent expenditure disclosure requirements and banning anonymous campaign ads.

TV weatherman Al Roker predicted de Blasio would serve but a single term, but the dispute didn’t stop the mayor from participating in the weatherman’s 60th birthday celebration.

Cuomo’s office is spending $35,000 for an outside law firm to make sure the state Board of Elections properly implements its pilot program of public campaign financing.

Sen. Tim Kennedy and his primary challenger Erie County Legislator Betty Jean Grant, engaged in “a lively, sometimes testy, but always respectful” debate.

‘Tough’ Cahill’s 1st Ad Links Schneiderman To Moreland (Updated)

Republican attorney general hopeful John Cahill is hitting the airwaves with his first TV ad, in which he links his Democratic opponent, AG Eric Schneiderman, to the failed Moreland Commission and pledges to be “tough enough” to clean up corruption in Albany.

“John Cahill is Ironman tough and is exactly the kind of Attorney General that New Yorkers need to finally break the lock of corruption on state government,” said Cahill’s campaign spokesman Dave Catalfamo. “His ethical, active and independent approach to the AG’s office, offers voters a clear and compelling alternative to the complicit, lackadaisical, incompetent administration of Eric Schneiderman – this ad tells that story.”

The ad is scheduled to start running statewide tomorrow and will continue for two weeks (including over the Labor Day weekend), and the buy is about $750,000, according to Cahill’s campaign. That’s a sizable chunk of the money Cahill has raised to date; as of the July 15th filing with the state Board of Elections, he had $968,689 on hand.

This is actually the first spot from either candidate. Schneiderman, who has vastly out-paced Cahill in fund-raising, has reserved some $2 million worth of air time during the last few weeks before the Nov. 4 election. Buying so far in advance means Schneiderman not only received a discount, but also was able to snap up good time slots at a moment when voters are likely to be paying more attention to the race than they are in the middle of August.

Cahill’s ad also comes as yet another poll – from Quinnipiac this morning – shows that Schneiderman continues to be over 50 percent mark in his reelection bid, leading Cahill 51-29.

Voters approve 51-22 percent of the job Schneiderman is doing, and 44 percent say he deserves re-election. Forty-eight percent of voters said they don’t know enough about Schneiderman to have an opinion of him, despite the fact that he has been a statewide elected official for almost four years. But 72 percent don’t know Cahill, a former top Pataki administration aide, which explains why he’s spending money now in hopes of raising his name recognition and defining himself before Schneiderman and his allies do it for him.

Cahill’s ad doesn’t mention anything about his party affiliation, and it steers clear of any social issues – though it does mention his work to increase preserved open space in New York. Schneiderman’s camp has been hammering on Cahill over the abortion rights issue (he’s pro-life), trying to paint him as too conservative to represent Democrat-dominated New York.

This ad also refers to “Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission,” which is a reference to the now-defunct corruption-busting Moreland Commission created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. To call is the AG’s commission is really a stretch, though he did deputize the commission’s members – at the governor’s request – to give them the power to investigate outside the executive branch (in other words, to target the Legislature), and also provide top staffers to assist the commission with its work.

Schneiderman has made it clear he’s cooperating with US Attorney Preet Bharara’s investigation of the Moreland Commission’s demise, but he has declined to comment beyond that. Cahill has been slamming the AG for his silence, insisting he has to come clean about what he knew of the Cuomo administration’s interference with the commission’s efforts and why he didn’t blow the whistle on that.

So far, efforts by the Republicans – including Cahill – to tar their Democratic opponents with the Moreland mess hasn’t borne much fruit. Today’s Q poll reiterates the findings of previous polls, indicating that while voters believe Cuomo should have stayed out of the commission’s way and is perhaps contributing to the corruption problem in Albany, that’s not enough to tank their support of him – or Schneiderman, for that matter.

Here’s the script from Cahill’s ad:

“A lot of people call me tough.

I served as Governor Pataki’s right hand in rebuilding Ground Zero. I helped lead the battle to preserve over a million acres of open space… and we won. As Attorney General, I’ll enforce the law and expose the corruption that cripples state government.

When Eric Schneiderman’s ethics commission began investigating his own contributors, it was shut down. Cleaning up Albany starts with a new Attorney General who’s tough enough to clean out corruption.

I’m John Cahill.”

Updated: The Schneiderman campaign weighs in.

“It’s never a good sign when a campaign is forced to squander all its money on air time in August. It must be tough to see Cahill’s paltry poll numbers, so it’s not surprising he’s resorting to a Hail Mary move so early in his campaign,” said campaign spokesman Peter Ajemian. “This ad is the latest example of Cahill running from his own record as an oil and gas industry lobbyist whose views are too extreme for New York.”

Unshackle Steers Clear of Statewide Races – For Now

From the Morning Memo:

The pro-business, anti-tax organization Unshackle Upstate released its 2013-14 legislative scorecards yesterday, indicating which Assembly members and senators are likely to receive its endorsement this fall.

But Unshackle has decided not to pick sides just yet in any of the statewide races, although the group’s executive director, Brian Sampson, was not shy about indicating during a CapTon interview last night which way his board is leaning.

“We’ve had initial conversations…about what we want to with the statewide races, and we’ve made a determination at this point we’re not going to engage,” Sampson told me.

“However, we do have concerns about where certain individuals are aligned and what they’re pushing for relative to the Working Family Party and the Senate going back to New York City control, which would be bad for us and upstate. We’re going to have to see where things go.”

“…We’re going to engage in a few primaries where we think it’s important,” Sampson continued. “Then after Labor Day I’ll be getting my board back together to discuss what we want to do both in local elects and in statewide races.”

Unshackle’s rules require unanimous consent among board members for endorsements.

In 2010, the Rochester-based lobbying group sat out the governor’s race, declining to back either Cuomo (then the state attorney general) or his GOP challenger, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino.

It did endorse Republican hedge fund manager Harry Wilson for state comptroller, but he lost in a very tight race to the Democratic incumbent, Tom DiNapoli.

Based on its scorecards, it’s easy to see that Unshackle will be siding with the Senate Republicans again this year, though one Democrat – Syracuse’s Dave Valesky, an IDC member – scored high enough (88) to be considered for the group’s nod. (A lawmaker must score 85 or higher to be endorsement eligible).

That’s a switch for Valesky, according to Sampson. In 2012, the Central New York Democrat received a 72.

In the Assembly, just one Democrat – Buffalo’s Robin Schimminger, who tends to vote on the conservative side, especially when it comes to fiscal and tax matters – made the cut for Unshackle’s endorsement consideration. He received a 94.

Watch Here >>

Q Poll: Cuomo Part of Corruption ‘Problem,’ NYers Like Him Anyway

A whopping 83 percent of New York voters think state government corruption is either a very or somewhat serious problem, and close to half (48 percent) believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo is contributing to the mess, according to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning.

Forty-one percent of those polled said Cuomo is part of the solution to the swamp that has engulfed Albany.

Concern over corruption and the governor’s role in combatting it (or failing to do so) has so far not had much of an impact on either his favorability rating or his lead over all challengers in the fall elections.

Cuomo continues to enjoy a massive lead over his GOP opponent, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, trouncing him 56-28, which is virtually unchanged from 57-28 in a May Q poll (conducted well before the Moreland mess heated up, thanks to a July 23 New York Times report).

As for Cuomo’s Democratic primary challenger, Fordham Law Prof. Zephyr Teachout, 88 percent of New Yorkers have no idea who she is. Ditto (or nearly, at 89 percent) for Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins.

“Is the governor’s race all over? Did it ever start?” said Q pollster Mickey Carroll.

“Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino gets only the standard Republican numbers. Voters give Gov. Cuomo a big lead and say he deserves reelection.”

“First, Cuomo has the primary challenge from Zephyr Teachout, who’s about as anonymous as a candidate can be,” Carroll added.

The governor’s favorability rating is 55-36, and 57-28 approve of the job he has been doing. Fifty-three percent of voters say Cuomo deserves to be re-elected, which is about the same as in May.

Fifty percent of voters disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling ethics in government, but 50 percent also say he’s honest and trustworthy.

Of the 51 percent who have read or heard anything about the governor’s decision to shutter the anti-corruption Moreland Commission, 77 percent say the shutdown was a political deal with legislative leaders while 11 percent say the decision was good government.

Even Cuomo’s fellow Democrats believe – 68-15 -that the demise of Moreland was the result of a political deal.

Forty-six percent of all voters think the feds should continue the defunct commission’s work, though another 46 percent said they haven’t heard enough about this issue to have an opinion one way or the other.