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Poll shows regional divide on guns in NY

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 - Updated: 5:29 PM

ALBANY (AP) -- A poll released Monday shows the geographic divide over New York's new gun control law, with strong support in downstate urban and suburban areas and heavier opposition across the more rural upstate region.

The Siena College poll shows 65 percent support statewide for the more restrictive gun law, including 82 percent in New York City and 61 percent in its suburbs, including Long Island. Half of the upstate respondents supported the new law, with 55 percent opposition in the 14 counties of the Southern Tier.

"There's no question about it," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said of the geographic divide in New York on guns. It also reflects Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives and apparently urban vs. rural sentiments, he said. New York City and its suburbs, including Westchester, Rockland, Orange and Putnam counties, account for almost 65 percent of the state's population.

The poll of 1,154 registered voters was conducted by telephone from Jan. 27-31. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

According to the poll, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's favorability rating dropped from 71 percent to 67 percent statewide since he introduced and pushed through the law in two days, with 42 percent of voters and 72 percent of Republicans saying it was rushed without adequately considering public opinion.

However, 56 percent of voters, including 73 percent of Democrats, agreed that the law was needed and, although passed quickly, it was the right thing to do.

"There is no question that Andrew Cuomo spent some of the political capital he had built up in two years as governor," Greenberg said of the gun bill. "The operative phrase, however, is 'a little."'

The law bans certain semi-automatic guns and large magazines, requires owners to register within a year any once-legal guns banned under the law's tighter definition of "assault weapons" and outlaws bringing them into New York from elsewhere.

It also institutes mandatory background checks for ammunition purchases, tries to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people who may be a threat to themselves or others and increases prison penalties for gun crimes.

The measure, spearheaded by Cuomo after the Connecticut school massacre of 20 children and six adults, passed the New York state Senate, which is run by a Republican-dominated coalition, 43-18. The Democrat-controlled Assembly approved it 104-43.


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