Gov. Cuomo’s plans to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after his father are not exactly popular with those polled.
ALBANY — Gov. Cuomo’s move to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after his father is not going over well with those who live close to the span, a new poll revealed.
A poll released Tuesday by the Reclaim New York Initiative showed that 53.8% of voters in Rockland and Westchester counties opposed naming the span after former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
An even larger majority, 77.5% of voters, opposed the way the naming was achieved — with a bill approved by lawmakers in the final hours of the Legislature’s annual session — and 63% said they would be less likely to vote next November for lawmakers who supported the deal.
When given a choice of options, 43.3% favored keeping the span’s current name, the Gov. Malcolm Wilson Tappan Zee Bridge. Only 14.7% favored the Mario Cuomo option and 3.9% wanted the bridge named after folk singer Pete Seeger.
"People aren’t stupid," said Brandon Muir, executive director of the Reclaim New York Initiative. "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.”
The initiative bills itself as a non-partisan organization working to “make sure government officials understand — loud and clear — that they work for us.” The poll was conducted for the group by McLaughlin & Associates, a GOP-leaning polling firm based in Rockland County.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, scoffed at the survey.
“As a policy we don’t comment on polls, even push polls from far-right Astroturf groups," Azzopardi said.
Construction on the new Tappan Zee Bridge as seen from Nyack, N.Y., in January 2017.
During a press conference last month, Gov. Cuomo conceded that his father, who died in 2015, would likely not have wanted the bridge named after him. He recalled how Mario Cuomo didn’t even want to sit for an official gubernatorial portrait to hang in the halls of the Capitol.
But Cuomo said his father didn’t oppose the idea for other politicians and supported the naming of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel after former Gov. Hugh Carey.
“He did have a deep respect for the institution of government and government service,” Cuomo said of his father.
During a radio interview Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) voiced support for the bridge naming.
“I think any three term governor is deserving of something to be named after them,” Heastie said.