LOUDONVILLE — An overwhelming majority of voters, 67-14 percent, support the state’s recent modification of the 2019 bail reform law, according to a recent poll by the Siena College Research Institute released earlier this week.
But, 38 percent say the amended law will have no impact on the crime rate compared to 32 percent who say it will decrease it and 16 percent say it will increase it.
“The changes the governor and Legislature made to the bail law — including giving judges more discretion on setting bail in certain instances — enjoy strong support from voters across the board, with at least 58 percent of voters of every party, region and race supporting the changes,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “While the original bail reform law is still viewed as bad for the state, 54-34 percent, down a little from 56-30 percent last month, that largely depends on which side of the aisle you sit on. The overwhelming majority of Republicans and independents continue to say the law has been bad for the state, and Democrats, by a narrower but growing margin say the law has been good for New York.”
By an even larger margin, 73-16 percent, voters approve of the state suspending the 16 cent per gallon gas tax through December.
“For New Yorkers, reducing the gas tax appears to be in the same category as mom and apple pie,” Greenberg said. “At least two-thirds of voters of every demographic group — party, region, age, gender, race, income, religion, ideology — approve of the state suspending its share of the gas tax between June and December.”
There is also little doubt on where the majority of voters stand on the state contributing $600 million towards a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills — 63 percent disapprove and 24 percent approve of the measure.
“Also uniting voters is their disapproval of the state kicking in $600 million for a new Buffalo Bills stadium. It’s opposed by at least 55% of every demographic group,” Greenberg said. “Interestingly, upstaters are even less approving than downstaters of the stadium deal and are also less supportive of three New York City area casinos.”
According to the poll, voters approve the $4.2 billion environmental bond act being on the ballot, 52 to 24 percent, legalizing the sale of to-go drinks by bars and restaurants, 50 to 38 percent, and moving forward on three New York City area casinos, 46 to 35 percent.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s favorability rating, 44 to 34 percent, is virtually unchanged from 45 to 35 percent last month. Her overall job performance rating is negative 36 to 57 percent, down from 43 to 53 percent last month. On five specific job performance ratings, between 54 and 69 percent give her a negative rating, including 69 percent on crime and 63 percent on economic issues — by far the top issues mentioned by voters as the most important to them in deciding which gubernatorial candidate to support in November, according to the poll, and
“Hochul’s overall job performance rating, the worst it’s ever been, is 21 points under water, after being 11 points under water last month and just two points under water at the start of the year,” Greenberg said. “As they have all year, Republicans give her an abysmal job performance rating, while independents also continue to give her a decidedly negative rating. Democrats are still positive, 55 to 42 percent, although that’s down from 63 to 33 percent last month.”
On fighting crime, only 24 percent of all voters and 37 percent of Democrats give her a positive rating, compared to 69 percent and 58 percent, respectively, who rate her as doing only a poor or fair job. Addressing economic issues, 63 percent of all voters and 48 percent of Democrats give her a negative rating. On delivering on her pledge to restore trust in government, voters rate Hochul’s performance negatively 29 to 65 percent.
“Overall, 45 percent of voters say they’d vote for ‘someone else’ in November if Hochul is the Democratic nominee, while 40 percent are prepared to elect her to a full term,” Greenberg said. “Democrats, however, would elect her to a full term 62 to 27 percent, down from 71 to 20 percent last month.”
Hochul’s favorability rating remains consistent — between 42 and 46 percent positive every month since September. Among Democrats, her favorability rating is 60 to 16 percent, far better than her primary opponents.
Of the issues topping voters’ concerns, 25 percent say crime is the single most important issue in determining which candidate gets their support for governor in November, according to the poll. Taxes/fiscal responsibility finished a distant second, identified by 9 percent, all economic issues combined — including jobs, inflation, and the cost of living — are also identified by one-quarter of voters as the most important issue, according to the poll.
Seven percent named integrity/ethics as the most important in deciding their gubernatorial vote.
“There are some demographic differences — such as about one-third of Black, Latino and New York City voters identifying crime as the top issue, significantly higher than white voters and those from outside New York City,” Greenberg said. “However, crime and economic issues were identified as the top issue by between 43 and 57 percent of voters of every region, party, and race.”
The majority of voters, 52 to 36 percent, say New York is head in the wrong direction, that is up from 49 to 40 percent last month. More people, 57 to 34 percent, say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Asked about expectations for their household finances when the pandemic is no longer a threat, a small plurality, 42 percent, expect to be in a similar financial position as before the pandemic; 36 percent say the pandemic has seriously hurt their financial position; and 19 percent think they’ll emerge from the pandemic financially stronger.
“The last time voters were more pessimistic about the direction of the state than they are today was in David Paterson’s last month as governor, December 2010, when voters thought the state was headed in the wrong direction 60 to 29 percent,” Greenberg said.
With nine weeks until the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, most of the candidates — except Hochul and Andrew Giuliani, based on his last name — remain largely unknown to a wide swath of voters, even voters in their own party:
• Kathy Hochul: 44 to 34 percent favorability rating with all voters, 45 to 35 percent in March, and 60 to 16 percent with Democrats, 67 to 17 percent in March.
• Jumaane Williams: 24 to 20 percent overall compared to 24 to 19 percent in March and 38 to 14 percent with Democrats compared to 40 to 13 percent in March.
• Tom Suozzi: 21-18 percent overall with 20 to 18 percent in March and 26 to 16 percent among Democrats compared to 25-16 percent in March.
• Andrew Giuliani: 26 to 48 percent overall with 25 to 50 percent in March and 38 to 31 percent among Republicans compared to 46 to 29 percent in March.
• Lee Zeldin: 22 to 19 percent overall compared to 20 to 20 percent in March while 36 to 14 percent among Republicans compared to 35 to 12 percent in March.
• Rob Astorino: 18 to 20 percent overall compared to 21 to 18 percent in March and 23 to 16 percent with Republicans compared to 33 to 10 percent in March.
• Harry Wilson: 12 to 11 percent overall compared to 13 to 9 percent in March and 13 to 12 percent among Republicans compared to 13 to 9 percent in March
The poll was conducted April 18-21, 2022, among 806 registered New York state voters. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent.
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