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Poll finds New Yorkers are most worried about the cost of living

The poll results discussed in the article in a graph
Siena College
Siena College
A new Siena College poll shows that 80% of voters believe that the cost of living is a problem.

A new poll finds that while New Yorkers are concerned about the influx of tens of thousands of migrants into the state in recent months, they are more worried about the cost of living.

Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg said 80% of voters believe that the cost of living, which includes the cost of groceries, gas, and rent or a mortgage, is a problem. A plurality named that concern as the biggest issue facing the state.

“And the winner there: 27% said the cost of living in the state,” Greenberg said. “The second tier of issues basically tied; 19% said crime, 18% said the recent influx of migrants, 17% said affordable housing.”

Those concerns were followed by health care, the environment, and the brain drain of educated people leaving the state.

Greenberg said given the high rate of inflation experienced since the pandemic, those responses make sense. But he said he was surprised by how many New Yorkers said they think the overall quality of life in the state is declining.

“Only 14% of New Yorkers say it's getting better. Twenty-seven percent say it's staying the same. Fifty-seven percent of New Yorkers say the quality of life in the state is getting worse,” Greenberg said.

He said Republicans were more negative, with 81% saying things are getting worse, but 43% of Democrats agreed with that as well.

Despite the pessimism, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s favorability rating and job approval ticked up slightly from a low point in August. Forty percent view her favorably, while 41% do not, but that’s better than the 46% unfavorable rating that the governor received a few weeks ago. Her job approval rating also gained a couple of points; 48% of respondents now approve of the job she’d doing as governor.

“Her numbers are up a little bit – nothing to write home about, but she at least broke her five-month trend of numbers dropping,” Greenberg said.

And finally, New Yorkers do not seem very enthusiastic about the likely major party candidates for the 2024 presidential race: 62% believe Democratic President Joe Biden is unfit for another four-year term, while 60% say former President Donald Trump, a Republican, is unfit to serve. One-third of respondents said neither is fit to run.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.