NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken a hit in the polls because of his proposed education reforms, with almost double the number of voters placing trust in the teachers union to improve education, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
The governor's overall approval rating has taken a hit as well at 50 percent compared to 39 percent who disapprove. That's down from a Dec. 22 poll when Cuomo's approval rating was 58 to 32 percent.
Cuomo's approval rating for education is dismal with 63 percent of voters who disapprove compared to 28 percent who approve. Education was listed as the top priority by 24 percent of voters, topping other leading issues such as jobs, 15 percent, and taxes, at 12 percent.
The poll found that 55 percent of voters trusted the teachers unions to improve education versus 28 percent who trusted the governor.
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets his lowest grade on education, which is the top priority for voters, a grade so bad it pulls down his whole job approval score," Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement.
Teachers unions have criticized the governor's education proposals on how to evaluate teachers and students.
Cuomo dismissed the poll results Wednesday as the cost of making policy, saying there was an "opposite side" to every issue, especially during the contentious budget season.
"As you're stirring that pot and ginning up opposition and everybody is doing rallies and sending nasty e-mails, it's very much the nature of the beast," said Cuomo.
But voters in the poll disagreed with many of Cuomo's proposals.
Approximately 71 percent of voters said teacher pay should not be based on how well students perform on standardized tests with only 25 percent agreeing.
Another 65 percent of voters also did not feel that teacher tenure should be based on student standardized test performance versus 30 percent who did.
Currently, tenure and pay are not linked to test results.
Half of voters felt the cap on charter schools should be increased versus 41 percent who were not in favor of charter expansion.
United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew said Cuomo is listening to the wrong constituency to help him develop education policy.
“If the governor is interested in improving his poll numbers on education, he should be visiting schools and talking to teachers and parents, rather than listening to his hedge-fund pals," said Mulgrew.