Wall Street Journal
By Erica Orden
December 14, 2015
A slight majority of New York registered voters oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the country at this time, according to a poll due out Monday.
That position puts them on the side of several GOP presidential candidates and some Republican governors who have opposed allowing such migrants into the U.S. since the terror attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., but at odds with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Fifty-two percent of respondents to the Siena College poll said they oppose allowing in Syrian refugees right now, while 39% said they support allowing Syrian migrants to enter the country. Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has said that rejecting such refugees would be akin to “conceding defeat of the American dream.”
The poll also found that nearly 90% of New Yorkers are at least somewhat concerned that another terrorist attack will take place in New York in the near future.
New Yorkers also have another concern on their minds: public corruption.
Nearly 50% of poll respondents followed the federal trials of former New York state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, both recently prosecuted by the office of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, at least somewhat closely.
And a large majority of voters, 83%, said they agreed with the guilty verdict on all seven counts, including honest-services fraud, extortion and money laundering, for Mr. Silver. The poll was conducted Dec. 6-10, after the conviction Mr. Silver and before the conviction—but during the trial—of Mr. Skelos and his son.
Eighty-nine percent of New Yorkers believe public corruption is a serious problem in the state, the poll found, and while 83% of respondents said they believe Mr. Silver’s conviction is an important step toward cleaning up Albany, few believe that verdict or the convictions of other elected officials will persuade lawmakers to behave ethically.
Rather, 61% believe that though Mr. Silver was prosecuted for and found guilty of such crimes, “the next guy will do the same just more carefully.” And 64% of voters said Albany must pass new ethics laws to prevent public officials from abusing their office for private gain.
Over the years, Albany lawmakers have passed numerous revisions to the ethics laws, and in the wake of the convictions of Messrs. Silver and Skelos, many elected officials, including Mr. Cuomo, have called for additional, stricter controls on lawmakers.
Still, there is significant skepticism about whether the Legislature and Mr. Cuomo, who took office pledging to clean up Albany, will go far enough in their efforts.
“We must have zero tolerance for any violations of the public trust,” Mr. Cuomo said Sunday. “I think we need an ambitious reform agenda that is dramatic and relevant,” he said, pinpointing the potential conflicts of interest that arise as a result of the legislators’ outside employment as “the root of a lot of this.”
Even so, Mr. Cuomo has declined to call for a full-time Legislature, saying lawmakers wouldn’t approve such a proposal.
The Siena poll surveyed 822 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.
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