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Siena Poll Finds New Yorkers Still Getting To Know Hochul

 Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul

Less than a month after taking office, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is viewed favorably by 42 percent of voters and unfavorably by 17 percent. 41 percent either don’t know the Democrat or know enough about her to have an opinion. That’s according to a new poll from the Siena College Research Institute released Tuesday.

The poll found voters say Hochul — who took over for disgraced Governor Andrew Cuomo — has a more collaborative approach to government leadership than her predecessor, by a 52 to 18 percent margin.

Nearly three-quarters say it’s exciting to have the state’s first female governor. Steve Greenberg is a spokesman for the poll:

“Early on, she certainly has the ability to control the bully pulpit and make news. She’s been across the state multiple times in her first few weeks as governor. So we asked voters early on, how’s she doing? 44 percent of voters say she’s doing either an excellent or a good job so far. 27 percent say she’s doing a fair job. 10 percent say she’s doing a poor job,” he said.

The poll found Cuomo with a negative 34 to 55 percent favorability rating, his worst mark ever, but 39 percent say he left New York a better place to live and work.

Cuomo’s final job performance rating was 50-to-48 percent. Hochul’s margin is 44 to 37.

The Democrat has already said she plans to run for a full term in 2022. Greenberg says some potential primary opponents next year are also largely unknown to voters:

“One of the people mentioned as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate is the Attorney General, Letitia James. She’s been elected statewide as well. Right now, 38 percent of voters view James favorably. 18 percent unfavorably. 45 percent either don’t know or don’t know enough to have an opinion. Very comparable numbers to where Kathy Hochul stands,” he said.

Greenberg says state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is also something of a mystery to voters.

“His favorability rating? 22-14. 64 percent, nearly two-thirds of voters, don’t know enough about Tom DiNapoli to have an opinion, and he’s been in statewide office for over a decade," he said. "So it’s a challenge if you’re not the governor or the United States Senator to really have the voters, the majority of voters across the state know who you are, pay attention to the job that you’re doing.”

Not many New York voters have paid much attention to the race for the Republican nomination for governor in 2022. The poll found Andrew Giuliani with a negative 29-42 percent favorability rating. The GOP-backed Congressman Lee Zeldin has an 18-to-15 percent favorability rating and former Republican gubernatorial candidate and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino has a 17-15 percent favorability rating.

The poll also finds President Biden’s favorability down since June, from 64 percent to 57.

As for the pandemic, New York voters generally support COVID-19 vaccine mandates:

“65 percent of New Yorkers say they support employers requiring their employees to be vaccinated. Even higher, 69 percent say they support schools requiring vaccines for teachers and staff. When we asked how it’s going to affect you, do you support businesses like gyms or restaurants requiring their customers to show proof of vaccination, two-thirds, 66 to 32 percent say, yes, they support it,” Greenberg said.

The poll of 700 registered voters in New York was conducted September 7-12 and has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.