A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday showed that for the first time, Republican voters in New York State have an unfavorable opinion of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat who took office two years ago and who is at the forefront of the debate over hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

According to the poll, 49% of Republican respondents now disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling his job as governor. That represents a steep drop from the 69% approval rating Cuomo received from Republicans in a poll taken on July 25.

Cuomo still enjoys overall support in the poll, with 55% approving of his job as governor and 27% disapproving. He curried favor from his fellow Democrats (69-12%), but also independents (49-34%), men (55-31%) and women (55-24%). Upstate voters also approved of Cuomo’s job performance (44-38%), as did New York City residents (68-13%) and suburbanites (53-33%).

The poll also showed that 62% of upstate voters are either “somewhat” or “very dissatisfied” with the direction the state is headed, while 52% of all respondents felt that way as well, compared to 46% who were either “somewhat” or “very satisfied.”

Advocates for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) said the poll numbers prove that Cuomo’s policies on the practice are unpopular.

“Today’s Quinnipiac poll demonstrates that New Yorkers, especially upstate, are losing faith in New York State and its future,” said Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, a division of the American Petroleum Institute. “This growing dissatisfaction, in our view, involves much more than a single issue.

“For more than two years, we have waited to move forward with safe natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. We have waited while farms have gone under, businesses have gone bankrupt, young people have moved away. We have waited in vain while just over the border, Pennsylvania has prospered.”

New York Republican Party Chairman Edward Cox concurred.

“On issue after issue…[including] hydrofracking jobs…Andrew Cuomo has talked big, delivered little and favored his own ambitions over spending his political capital on what’s good for New York,” Cox said. “Unless the governor puts aside his political ambitions to focus on growing New York’s economy and creating jobs, his declining poll numbers will only mirror his management of the continued decline of New York State.”

The Quinnipiac poll surveyed 1,165 registered voters between March 11 and 17 and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2.9%.