By Michael Virtanen
ALBANY— Most New York voters think corruption is a serious problem in Albany, though most are unfamiliar with the anti-corruption commission the governor shuttered in April, according to a poll released Monday.
The Siena College poll also showed 81 percent don't know who U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara is. An outspoken critic of Albany corruption, Bharara has taken the files of the Moreland commission and subpoenaed papers and emails of commissioners themselves following a newspaper report the Cuomo administration interfered in the commission's selection of investigative targets.
"Voters are focused on pocketbook issues," said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
Asked about the most important issue for them in considering this fall's election for governor, 28 percent said jobs, 21 percent taxes, 20 percent education and 17 percent said corruption.
The poll showed only 2 percent of likely voters said hydraulic fracturing for New York's natural gas reserves, tied up in studies of the potential health and environmental impacts, was their top issue. Only 1 percent said their top concern was guns and the state's gun-control law. Another 10 percent said it was some other issue or they didn't know.
However, 47 percent said corruption in state government is a very serious problem and 39 percent say it's somewhat serious. Meanwhile, 67 percent say they were unfamiliar with the Moreland commission's work.
Established last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to examine Albany's pay-to-play political culture and campaign donations, the commission's investigations were halted by Cuomo this spring after he got agreement from lawmakers to enact a limited version of campaign finance reform. It established a new enforcement office at the state Board of Elections, enacted some new anti-bribery provisions and authorized public campaign financing in the state comptroller's race.
The poll last week of 863 registered likely voters had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.