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Poll finds overwhelming support for Hochul's signature issues, gun safety and abortion rights

New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at Albany NanoTech
Ashley Hupfl
New York Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at Albany NanoTech

A new poll shows strong support for recent actions by Governor Kathy Hochul and the legislature to strengthen New York’s gun laws and provide additional protections for people seeking abortions.

Earlier this month, Hochul and the Democratic-led Senate and Assembly reacted to mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, and approved a number of gun safety measures. They include barring anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic rifle in New York, and requiring that everyone over 21 will need a permit to do so.

“No 18-year-old can walk in on their birthday, and walk out again with an AR-15,” Hochul said on June 6th. “Those days are over.”

Steve Greenberg, spokesman for Siena College polls, says the majority of voters, including Republicans and gun owners, support those measures.

“We’ve seen those issues where there are these huge partisan divides, this is not one of them,” said Greenberg, who said 83% of Democrats, 73% of independents and 67% of Republicans are in favor of the new law.

Greenberg says more than three quarters of New Yorkers also do not want the US Supreme Court to strike down New York’s decades-old law that requires a license to carry a concealed hand gun, including 79% of Republicans and 72% of gun owners. That decision is now before the court.

Hochul and the legislature also approved measures to protect abortion access for patients in New York and from states where the procedure would be banned, if the US Supreme Court, as expected, overturns Roe v. Wade.

The governor has been running campaign ads highlighting the measures.

The poll finds that most New Yorkers support the new abortion laws, and 60% believe that Roe should be upheld, including 41% of Republicans. 39% of GOP voters say it should be overturned.

Perhaps because of the new laws on guns and abortion, Hochul’s job approval ratings, which sank in March and April during state budget negotiations, have risen, and 46% of all voters view her favorably.

Greenberg says Hochul, who has significantly better name recognition than her opponents, seems poised to win the democratic primary on June 28.

“Hochul is certainly the front runner,” Greenberg. “The expectation is that she will win the primary. The question is how big will the margin be.”

With many Republican voters supporting the recent actions on guns and abortion, the GOP’s four candidates in the Republican primary may seem out of step with the electorate right now. But Greenberg says the Republicans, just like the Democrats, appeal to their base during primaries. He predicts the winners of each party’s primary will shift to the center for the general election, and focus on pocketbook issues like inflation and high gasoline prices.

“And we’ll see a race on the issues that the majority of New Yorkers care about,” Greenberg said. “Not just the more liberal Democrats and the more conservative Republicans.”

The Siena poll finds that among Republican voters, the party’s nominee for governor, Long Island Congressman Lee Zeldin, is unknown to nearly half of the GOP respondents. They are also largely unfamiliar with candidates Rob Astorino and Harry Wilson. But most have heard of Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor and former Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, and 50% view him favorably.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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