While Cuomo has generally enjoyed positive poll ratings, Casale predicted his popularity will drop once voters scrutinize his record in office.
“His answer to the economic problems of upstate appears to be nothing more than casinos right now,” Casale said.
In addition, he said, Cuomo infuriated many New Yorkers who own guns legally by pressing for a package of stringent gun control measures known as the SAFE Act following the school massacre in Connecticut last year.
“The wheels are very wobbly right now,” he said in describing Cuomo’s efforts to prepare for the coming election.
Otsego County Democratic Chairman Rich Abbate argued that any optimism by Republicans in the 2014 statewide contests is not grounded in reality.
“The Republicans have no ideas,” he said. “I think the governor has changed this state around in a very positive way. He has helped our economy to go forward. I see him winning and winning big.”
The governor’s race will play out in the aftermath of the ongoing national political battle over President Barack Obama’s controversial push for national health care reform. Abbate said he sees no negative fallout for Cuomo from that fight.
“Health care reform is going to be looked back upon as one of the great achievements of this time,” Abbate said.
And while Cuomo has tested the patience of activists on both sides of the simmering debate over gas drilling by delaying a decision on fracking rules, Abbate said he believes the governor’s supporters will understand why his deliberations have been so lengthy.
“When he gets all the information (from Dr. Nirav Shah, the state health commissioner, on the effects of fracking) he’ll make a decision,” he said. “Personally, I hope he doesn’t (allow fracking in New York).”
Abbate also said that Cuomo tried to come up with constructive solutions to gun violence while Republicans have been content to merely make political hay out of the issue.