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New Siena poll measures New Yorkers’ thoughts on guns, Roe, Hochul and more

New York Governor Kathy Hochul holds a gun magazine during a press conference detailing efforts to combat domestic terrorism and gun violence on May 18, 2022.
WAMC screenshot
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul holds a gun magazine during a press conference detailing efforts to combat domestic terrorism and gun violence on May 18, 2022.

A new Siena College poll out today takes New Yorkers' pulse on guns, crime, abortion and Governor Kathy Hochul.

Less than two weeks from primary day, the Siena College Research Institute survey of registered New York voters finds strong support for stricter gun control measures. Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg:

"More than three-quarters of New York voters think that the new law requiring a permit to get a semi-automatic rifle, including being at least 21, passing the background check and taking a safety course," said Greenberg. "Three-quarters of New Yorkers think that law will be good for New York, including 65% of every demographic group. And it's worth noting that that new law has the support of 67% of Republicans and 73% of gun owners."

Greenberg adds that more than three-quarters of voters also want the Supreme Court to uphold New York’s decades-old law requiring a license to carry a concealed handgun, including 72% of gun owners and 79% of Republicans (even more than the 77% of independents). A decision on the Rensselaer County-based challenge is expected any day.

Greenberg says New Yorkers continue to support the 2013 SAFE Act according to the poll taken last week.

The survey also finds New Yorkers continue to be concerned about crime.

"92% say crime is a serious problem across the state," said Greenberg. "63% say it's very serious. When it comes to their community closer to home, 65% say crime in their community is a serious problem. More than a quarter, 27%, say it's very serious. And 6 in 10 New Yorkers are concerned that they can be the victim of crime. 26%, fully a quarter, of New Yorkers say they are very concerned that they can be the victim of crime.”

Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins says the department is focusing on intervention ahead of a typical summer spike in crime. "You know, typically when we catch someone involved in a violent crime, it's not the first time," Hawkins said. "So it's distressing. I'm hopeful that this is not a trend. You know, we're working very closely with folks in our community to try to impress our young people and give our young people guidance and mentor as positive role models to help them avoid it."

Meanwhile, Siena poll respondents strongly support enhanced abortion protections: 60% of New Yorkers want the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade; only 24% want Roe overturned.

In the race for governor, Greenberg says with just two weeks to go until the Democratic primary Kathy Hochul is "doing OK" with voters.

"Her favorability rating stands 46% favorable 37% unfavorable, virtually unchanged from April when she was at a 44 to 34% favorability rating," Greenberg said. "And her job performance rating, which had dropped between March and April, has picked back up. So right now 41% of New Yorkers think Hochul is doing an excellent or good job as Governor, 52% say she's doing only a fair or poor job, but back in April that was 36 to 57."

The survey says Hochul is strong with Democrats: 65% view her favorably, 60% give her a positive job performance rating, and 70% are prepared to elect her to a full term in November if she’s the nominee. 70% of Republicans view her unfavorably, 81% give her a negative job rating and 81% would prefer to vote for “someone else” in November. 64% of Independent voters give Hochul a negative job rating, and 59% want someone else to vote for in November.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.