Astorino’s ‘Stop Common Core’ Drive Tops 60,000 Signatures in New York

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is hoping to use his “Stop Common Core” campaign to unseat Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York’s upcoming election.

In all, Astorino has filed 62,000 signatures in favor of his “Stop Common Core” campaign, which he hopes to place on the ballot line this fall in an effort to capitalize on the anger that the state’s rush to input the Common Core standards has inflicted upon parents and teachers.  Only 15,000 are needed to create a ballot line.

The ballot line would be the third for the Republican Party in the election.  All four Republican candidates will appear on the line.

“The support we have received has been incredible and we’re sure that the rejection of Cuomo’s Common Core is being heard loud and clear across the state and all the way to the governor’s mansion,” Astorino, the Westchester County executive, wrote in an email Tuesday to supporters.

The line has struck a chord with StudentsFirstNY, a group who supports charter schools and the efforts of Gov. Cuomo.

“It’s unfortunate that a candidate for governor would resort to a cheap political stunt on an issue as important as raising standards for New York schools,” Jenny Sedlis, StudentsFirstNY’s executive director, said in a statement.

Cuomo, in an effort to gain the votes of the Working Families Party, created a “Women’s Equality Party” line backed by Food Network star Sandra Lee, actress Lena Dunham and model Christie Brinkley.

In a recent poll out of Siena College, Cuomo is still ahead of Astorino by some 37 percentage points.  The Common Core Standards may help close the gap, as a majority of state voters want the standards left behind.

“While a majority of New York City voters and a plurality of Democrats think Common Core standards should continue to be implemented, a majority of Republicans, independents and upstaters, and a plurality of downstate suburbanites think implementation should be stopped,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.

However, Common Core is not at the top of most voters’ list, according to the Siena poll.  When asked which topic will most influence who they vote for, 13% of those polled listed jobs, 12% said taxes, another 12% said education, and 9% listed the economy.  Common core placed 14th on the list, and women’s issues took 24th place.

While the poll did show that 49% of New York residents want to see an end to the Common Core standards, 60% of these voters are Republicans who would have likely voted for Astorino anyway.

According to the poll, 59% of voters believe Cuomo has made New York a better place to live since he has been in office, despite any feelings toward the Common Core debacle.

“Andrew Cuomo is liked by voters and they are inclined to want to re-elect him. Rob Astorino remains largely unknown to the majority of voters and among those who know him they are evenly divided on whether they view him favorably or unfavorably,” Greenberg said.