New Poll Shows Nearly 80 Percent Disapprove of Governor, Legislature Cutting Backroom Deal to Rename Tappan Zee Bridge After Mario Cuomo


54 Percent of Rockland and Westchester Residents Disapprove of Renaming Bridge After Former Governor

80 Percent Feel Westchester and Rockland Residents Should Have Had a Role
in Naming Bridge that Joins Their Two Counties

(New York, NY) – The rush to name the New Tappan Zee Bridge after the Governor’s father has left a bad taste in the mouth of voters in at least two key counties. A new poll released today, by Reclaim New York Initiative, shows Rockland and Westchester County residents are disgusted by the late-night scheme to rush through the naming of the bridge without public debate or before Albany tells commuters how much they’ll pay to cross the new $4 billion span.

With 53.8 percent disapproving of renaming the bridge after former Governor Mario Cuomo, and just 33 percent approving, there was overwhelming opposition to the renaming. Only 14.7 percent of respondents thought the bridge should be named after the governor’s father, former governor Mario Cuomo, when selecting from multiple options.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents believed that Rockland and Westchester residents should have had a hand in naming the new bridge that connects their counties.

When voters learned that the Governor and Legislature misused a provision in the State Constitution usually reserved for emergencies to ram through the bridge naming with little to no public debate, the number disapproving of the bridge-naming jumped to an astonishing 77 percent.

A large majority of those polled were inclined to exact some political price from those who participated in Albany’s Cuomo Bridge-gate fiasco just before the July 4th holiday. Sixty-three (63) percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote next November for lawmakers who supported the backroom deal.

Perhaps even more troubling for the Cuomo administration were the results that indicated 65 percent of respondents were unwilling to pay anything more than $1 increase in the toll for the newly-named bridge. The Reclaim New York Initiative poll also found that nearly 77 percent of voters disapprove of naming the bridge before telling the public how much the toll hike will be. The Cuomo administration has refused to disclose the cost of crossing the new span.

“People aren’t stupid,” said Reclaim New York Initiative executive director Brandon Muir. “They see legislators cut deals with the Governor to name a bridge in the dead of night before telling the public what the tolls will be and they’re furious. This was classic Albany. It was a bad deal cut at the eleventh hour, without citizen input – and now the Governor has a real mess on his hands. Just wait until the new toll is announced.”

Nearly 64 percent said the way the governor and the state legislature named the bridge is symbolic of Albany dysfunction and demonstrates how out of touch government is with priorities such as lowering taxes, passing ethics reforms, and making the state more affordable.

Seventy-one (71) percent of Westchester and Rockland residents wanted Albany to focus on tax reform this session. Their second largest priority would have been term limits and ethics reform at 23 percent.

“The Governor and lawmakers ignored the priorities of citizens struggling to afford to live here in favor of naming a bridge. It would be laughable if the real affordability crisis residents face wasn’t so immediate,” said Muir. “The data shows people see the games and backroom deals and intend to make politicians pay at the ballot box.”

The poll was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates in Rockland and Westchester counties of 400 likely voters July 5-6, 2017. A majority of respondents indicated a favorable opinion of the Governor and a negative opinion of the State Legislature. Nearly 90 percent planned to vote in 2018. Forty-seven percent were Democrats, twenty-seven percent Republicans, and twenty six percent Independents.

Highlights of the Reclaim New York Initiative Poll Results Include:

  • A massive 69.1 percent of respondents disapprove, and 55.7 percent strongly disapprove, of Governor Cuomo and state legislators renaming the Tappan Zee bridge before explaining how they’ll pay for it, or how much the toll will cost.
    • Only 15 percent approved.
  • Respondents overwhelmingly disapprove of renaming the Tappan Zee bridge after Mario Cuomo.
    • 8 percent disapprove with 43 percent strongly disapproving.
    • Only 33.1 percent approve with just 16.1 strongly approving.
    • 65 percent disapprove of a Suffolk County state legislator proposing renaming a bridge in Rockland and Westchester after someone from Queens.
  • There is huge opposition to Albany renaming the bridge by rushing, and abusing legislative process.
    • Just 14.4 percent, and only 7.9 percent strongly approve of how Albany pushed through the bridge renaming.
    • A massive 77.5 percent disapprove, 62.5 percent strongly disapprove.
  • There will be consequences for 2018.
    • 1 percent said they’re less likely, with 39.7 percent much less likely, to vote for Governor Cuomo and state legislators who supported renaming the bridge.
  • A plurality of respondents didn’t want bridge renamed at all.
    • 3 percent preferred keeping the current name.
    • 5 percent wanted to name the new bridge after fallen police or veterans.
  • Westchester, Rockland residents agree they should have been involved in naming the bridge.
    • 6 percent of respondents agreed, compared to 15.4 percent who disagreed residents should have a role in naming the bridge.
  • When asked if the bridge naming symbolized Albany dysfunction, and showed lawmakers were out of touch, 63.7 percent of respondents agreed.
  • Albany’s priorities are backwards.
    • 71.1% of respondents prefer Albany focus on tax reform.
    • 22.6% said ethics reforms like term limits.

For complete poll results click here. For all cross tabs click here.

Reclaim New York Initiative is a non-partisan, non-profit registered 501(c)4 organization. We work to empower all New Yorkers with information and tools to make sure government officials understand – loud and clear – that they work for us. Visit, @ReclaimNYNow on Twitter.