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In new Siena poll, Gov. Hochul outpacing Williams, Suozzi and even Cuomo

Kathy Hochul
Pat Bradley/WAMC
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul

With the Democratic primary three months away, a Siena College Research Institute poll finds New York Governor Kathy Hochul with a significant lead over her two opponents.

Siena’s Steve Greenberg says in a three-way Democratic gubernatorial primary, Hochul has a commanding 40-point lead over both New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi among registered New York Democrats.

"Hochul currently has the support of 52% of Democrats compared to 12% for Williams and 11% for Suozzi," said Greenberg. "She has a commanding lead no matter how you look at it. She leads by 29 points in New York City, 28 points in the downstate suburbs and 56 points upstate."

Greenberg says there's a wild card in the mix.

"If however Andrew Cuomo, the former governor, decides to file petitions to run in the Democratic Primary in the next 10 days, the race is much closer," Greenberg said. "Hochul leads, but she only has the support of 38% of registered Democrats compared to 30% for Andrew Cuomo, 10% for Tom Suozzi and 7% for Jumaane Williams. Cuomo and Hochul are tied in New York City, where most Democratic primary voters come from. Hochul leads by eight points in the downstate suburbs and she has a commanding 25 point lead upstate. Cuomo has a 2-1 lead with Black voters. Hochul has a 2-1 lead with white voters."

Greenberg says despite all that, Cuomo would be a player if he decides to run against his former No. 2.

According to the poll, when voters were asked what Cuomo should do, 18% said "run in the Democratic primary," 10% said "run as independent in November," and 67% said "do not run for governor in 2022." Among Democrats, 33% say "run in the primary," 8% say "run as an independent," and 54% of Democrats say "don’t run.'"

Meantime, the poll also asked about a key issue in Hochul’s first budget. A majority told Siena the 2019 bail reforms have been bad for New York.

Hochul, who has proposed a 10-point plan to change the bail reform law, broke her silence on the issue late last week, telling reporters criticism from both sides of the political spectrum means she’s hit the correct balance.

Hochul said "I think that’s a sign that you’re in the right place."

Greenberg says just 30% of New Yorkers think the bail law has been good for the state. "...compared to 56% who think the bail law has not been good for New York. Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers say the bail law has resulted in an increase in crime. And an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers, including at least 72% of voters from every party, every region, every race, say the law should be amended to give judges more discretion to set bail for dangerous crimes, based on the danger of the crime, and the record of the individual arrested," Greenberg said.

Greenberg notes that at the same time 56% of New Yorkers are at least somewhat concerned that giving judicial discretion on bail could result in the unjust incarceration of poor people and people of color.

“So a majority of voters believe that the bail reform law has been bad for New York and has led to an increase in crime," said Greenberg. "There's near universal agreement that the bail or should be amended to give judicial discretion, while, at the same time, a majority are concerned that providing discretion could lead to unjust incarcerations.”

The survey finds 84% of Republicans think bail reform has been bad for New York, as do at least 60% of independents, voters outside New York City, white, and older voters. A plurality of Democrats, 46-38%, and a majority of young voters think the law has been good for the state. Black and Latino voters are closely divided, tilting toward bad.

bail reform law chart
SCRI
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This Siena College Poll was conducted March 20-24, 2022 among 804 New York State registered voters with 504 voters contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 300 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel (Lucid) of New Yorkers. Telephone calls were conducted in English and respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (ASDE) and cell phone (Dynata) telephone numbers within New York State weighted to
reflect known population patterns. Data from both collection modes (phone and web) was merged and statistically adjusted by age, party by region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. There were 369 Democrats, with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points including the design effect resulting from weighting.

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