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Poll: Gun law cost Cuomo support among Republicans

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York

By MICHAEL GORMLEY | AP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- After his gun control fight, Gov. Andrew Cuomo retained his popularity among his fellow New Yorkers, bolstering his Democratic and liberal support, but became a more polarizing figure, a poll released Thursday suggests.

The NBC New York, The Wall Street Journal, and Marist College poll shows little has changed in Cuomo's overall approval rating, but "there has been major movement under the radar," Marist College pollster Lee Miringoff said.

"Cuomo is doing better among Democrats and voters who describe themselves as liberal, but this is offset by a decline in his rating among Republicans, independents, conservatives, and upstate voters," he said.

The governor who sought to be a "new Democrat" centrist is drawing a more polarized reaction, Miringoff said.

Cuomo pushed the first gun control bill in the nation a month after the Dec. 14, 2012, Connecticut school massacre.

Among other things, the law outlaws a broader array of military-style weapons, restricts ammunition magazines to seven rounds down from 10, and makes New York the first state to require background checks to buy bullets. Mental health professionals are now required to tell state authorities if a patient threatens to use a gun illegally.

The poll questioned 814 adults Feb. 26 to Feb. 28, shortly after the new gun law was enacted Jan. 15.

It found that 41 percent of New Yorkers think Cuomo's new gun control law is "about right"; 30 percent say it went too far; and 19 percent felt the gun law didn't go far enough.

But 56 percent felt Cuomo was doing a good or excellent job, compared to 59 percent in October, which falls within the latest poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Cuomo's overall support within his party was 67 percent, compared to 61 percent in October. His support was 46 percent among Republicans, compared to 59 percent last fall; 46 percent among voters not enrolled in a political party, compared to 56 percent; 38 percent among conservatives, compared to 54 percent; and 75 percent among liberals, compared to 62 percent in October.

The breakdown on the gun law showed a predictable split, with the strongest opposition upstate. The strongest support was in New York City and its suburbs. Gun owners were split, with 66 percent saying the tough law went too far, while 25 percent saw is as "about right" and 8 percent said it didn't go far enough.

The poll found 48 percent of upstaters, 48 percent of Republicans statewide, 42 percent of conservatives statewide and 42 percent of men statewide felt the gun law went too far. Gun owners were the only group that passed the 50 percent mark with this response.

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