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New Siena poll finds Gov. Hochul’s approval growing — and support for much of her agenda

New York Governor Kathy Hochul 2022 State of the State Address
Ashley Hupfl
New York Governor Kathy Hochul 2022 State of the State Address

Two weeks after her State of the State address, a new poll finds New Yorkers give Governor Kathy Hochul her best job approval rating ever.

The Siena College Research Institute Poll of registered voters shows Hochul's job approval coming in at 56%, up 7 points from last month, with 36% disapproving. Siena’s Steve Greenberg says Hochul’s approval is up sharply from last month.

"When it was 49 to 44. So last month, 5 points on the positive side today, 20 points on the positive side," Greenberg said. "Independents with her think she's doing a good job 47 to 43%. After last month, 58% of independents disapproved of the job she was doing. Little movement among upstate voters, but stronger approval rating for the governor among downstate voters. Her favorability rating right now, 48% of voters have a favorable view of Kathy Hochul. That's an all-time high. Although I should point out that she's never hit 50. Her previous high was 47 unfavorable, now 48. 42% of voters view her unfavorably. So on the positive side by six points."

Hochul won a full four-year term in November and laid out her agenda for the year earlier this month. Greenberg says voters broadly support her plans.

"Many of them enjoy wide bipartisan support," Greenberg said. "Her proposal to not raise state income taxes this year, 85% of voters support that, including 86% of Democrats, 84% of Republicans, 85% of independents. Basing New York's minimum wage on the rate of inflation, 76%, more than three-quarters of New Yorkers, support that including 88% of Democrats, 57% of Republicans, 69% independents. Guaranteeing eligible state employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, again, more than three-quarters, 76%, including a majority of all parties support that. Amending the state constitution to include the Equal Rights Amendment, 68% of New Yorkers support it, 20% oppose it. Republicans by a small plurality oppose the E.R.A. But Democrats overwhelmingly and independents strongly support it."

The poll also touched on the thorny bail reform issue and a proposal to allow SUNY to increase tuition.

"When it comes to giving judges more discretion to set bail for offenders accused of serious crimes, nearly two thirds, 65%, of New Yorkers support that," said Greenberg. "Only a quarter, 24%, oppose it. It has support from 61% of Republicans, 63% of independents and 68% of Democrats. One area where Republicans, Democrats and independents also agree, but not with the governor, is on her proposal to allow SUNY schools to raise tuition by up to 3% at most of the schools, up to 6% at Albany and the other three university centers. 62% of New Yorkers oppose that idea, compared to only 28% who support it, and it has majority opposition, as I said, from Democrats, Republicans and independents."

Assemblymember Pat Fahy of the 109th district says she is pleased to see the results of the poll and happy for fellow-Democrat Hochul.

"I'm sure it's welcome news for her after last week with the defeat in the judiciary committee of her nominee, Judge LaSalle, being opposed," Fahy said. "So I'm sure this is very welcome news. And quite frankly, as we head into the budget, which is probably the most contentious time here with the legislature, I think it's good, because the voters are clearly telling us, they support her proposal not to raise income taxes. And I think that makes a lot of sense. Lots of support for really looking at the minimum wage and possibly indexing it to inflation. And then I think she's getting this overwhelming support. I saw the article that said 95% of voters still believe crime is a serious problem. That was something she pivoted to in her campaign. A little late, but in October, November, and it's very clear, the voters are still extremely concerned."

Hochul’s budget plan is due to lawmakers by February 1.

January 2023

The poll also finds New Yorkers of all political stripes want to see downstate Republican Congressman George Santos resign after it emerged he fabricated most of his life story.

“Nearly two-thirds of Democrats, 59% of independents and a strong plurality of Republicans, 49%, say George Santos should resign from Congress, compared to only 17% of all voters who say he shouldn’t resign,” Greenberg said. “Upstate voters say he should resign by a 36-point margin. In New York City it’s 39%. But downstate suburbanites want him out by a 56-point margin, 71-15%, even more than Democrats. Voters overwhelmingly view Santos unfavorably, including 55% of Democrats, 56% of Republicans and 59% of independents. Again, downstate suburbanites lead the state, 76%, in their unfavorable view of Santos.”

“It is fascinating that Santos has gone from largely unknown freshman representative-elect to being more well known to New Yorkers than Brooklyn’s Hakeem Jeffries, just elected to his sixth term and the new U.S. House Minority Leader. Although it must be pointed out that Jeffries is viewed favorably, 33-20%," Greenberg said.

According to the SCRI website, this Siena College Poll was conducted January 15-19, 2023, among 821 New York State registered voters with 494 voters contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 327 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, region, race/ethnicity, education, gender, and 2020 vote by region to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of + 4.3 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting.

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.
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