Today’s Siena poll is a mixed bag for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, bringing him good news about the constitutional amendment on casino gambling (not to mention his manipulation of the ballot amendment wording on the subject), but bad news about his own job approval and favorability ratings.

For the first time ever, Cuomo’s job performance rating has slipped just below the magic 50 percent number – a development that comes as he prepares to seek re-election next fall.

Cuomo saw a slight drop in his favorability rating, a small drop in his “re-elect” number, and a small drop in his job performance rating, bringing him to his lowest level – 49-50, down from 52-46 percent in August – since he took office in January 2011.

The governor is viewed favorably by 64 percent of voters and unfavorably by 32 percent (down slightly from 65-30 percent in August).

He has a 49-50 percent job performance rating (down from 52-46 in August).

Fifty-two percent say they are prepared to re-elect him, while 39 percent would prefer someone else (down from 55-35 percent last month).

Cuomo is still doing well (60 percent) among Democrats and New York City voters are prepared to re-elect him, but a plurality of Republicans and independents and a majority of upstaters say they’d prefer someone else in the executive mansion.

When it comings to casino gambling, New Yorkers remain evenly divided at 46-46, down from 49-42 last month, on whether to allow the expansion of non-Indian run gaming facilities across the state.

But, when given the specific wording of the amendment on the ballot in November, which plays up the job growth and property tax reduction possibilities of more gambling, voters changed their tune.

Fifty-five percent said they would vote “yes” on that amendment, compared to 42 percent who said they would not.

“Clearly, the wording on the ballot for the casino amendment matters,” Siena pollster Steve Greenberg concluded.

Also, a small majority of voters said they think the amendment is fairly worded, although that depends in part on whether the voters were pro or anti-casino expansion in the first place.

For the first time in nearly two years, more New Yorkers (46-43) believe the state is heading in the wrong direction than those who believe we’re on the right course.

On the controversial question of fracking, the largest plurality ever in a Siena poll has said “no” to the natural gas drilling technique, with 45 percent opposed and 37 percent in favor.

Heading into the 2014-15 budget season, voters say by a 53-41 percent margin they would rather see an increase in state spending in areas such as education than a broad-based tax cut.

However, three-quarters of voters believe a state income tax cut in next year’s budget is at least somewhat important.

And last but not least, some not-so-fabulous news for former Gov. Eliot Spitzer if he was perhaps mulling another comeback attempt – maybe a run at state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli? – after he failed NYC comptroller bid this fall.

At least 62 percent of voters from every region of the state and every party agree that Spitzer should leave his political aspirations on the shelf next year and refrain from seeking statewide office, although he does continue to have a reservoir of support (more than 40 percent) among black and Latino voters.

Siena poll, Sept. 30 by embenjamin2001