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Medicaid, school cuts opposed

Most New Yorkers don't mind if Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo goes after the state work force to help reduce the budget deficit, but they oppose any attempts to cut the state's financial commitment to public schools or the rapidly growing Medicaid insurance program, according to polling results released Wednesday.

Three-quarters of New Yorkers surveyed by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said they support a pay freeze for state employees, but respondents split about evenly on laying off state workers 45 percent support layoffs and 47 percent oppose them. Fifty-five percent oppose reducing state workers' pensions.

A majority of respondents said they would prefer program cuts to tax increases. But they backed away from reducing money for public schools and Medicaid funding.

Respondents oppose tax increases by a majority of more than 2 to 1, but 74 percent say they don't believe claims by Cuomo and lawmakers that tax increases won't be in the cards this year.

If any doubt remained on property taxes, 82 percent in the poll favored, while just 13 percent opposed, proposals to limit annual increases.

The poll asked an open-ended question about the most pressing issues facing the state. Nearly 40 percent cited jobs, followed by 19 percent who pointed to the state's budget problems.

Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said Cuomo's personal favorability rating hit a high -- 63 percent -- last June while the governor still was state attorney general.

Now, Carroll said, the question has become: "Is Cuomo going to make the job or is the job going to make Cuomo?"

That, for voters, is not yet answered. "People are sitting back," he said.

e-mail: tprecious@buffnews.com

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