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Voters think Hochul still has to make good on goals, new poll finds

A woman with short brown hair and wearing a green top speaks into a microphone
Mike Groll
Gov. Kathy Hochul speaking at Binghamton University's Health Sciences in Johnson City. Oct. 25, 2021.

A new poll shows New Yorkers think Governor Kathy Hochul has fallen short on several major policy goals she laid out for 2022.

The new Siena College poll finds a majority of voters say the Democrat hasn't accomplished key goals she set for her administration at the beginning of the year. Poll spokesman Steve Greenberg:

"Back in January Siena asked voters if they thought Governor Hochul would make progress on six of the goals she had outlined in her State of the State address, including making communities safer, enhancing trust in state government, transforming SUNY to be the envy of the nation, making New York a place that people want to live not leave," said Greenberg. "So today when we asked whether asked voters whether the Hochul Administration did or did not make progress on these goals voters give a resounding 'no.' A majority or a strong plurality say she did not make progress on any of these issues. Fewer than one-third of voters say her administration made progress on any of the goals. Democrats, they were very optimistic back in January that she would make progress on all the goals, and today on four of the goals, a plurality of Democrats think she made progress. On the other two, not so much. Republicans weren’t optimistic she would make progress in January, and today overwhelmingly they say she didn't make progress on any of her goals. Independents also strongly say that no progress was made on any of the goals that Hochul set for herself. “

Survey respondents continue to be concerned about the cost of living and crime, key issues in Hochul’s narrow victory over Long Island Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin in November.

Nearly two-thirds of voters, 63%, say the cost of living should be one of the top two priorities for Hochul and legislators to address in 2023, followed by crime at 58%. Greenberg notes that crime and cost of living are the top-two priorities for Republicans, Democrats, independents, upstaters and downstaters, Black, Latino and white voters. The survey shows Hochul has yet to find common ground with her constituents.

"Currently Kathy Hochul is viewed favorably by 45% of voters, unfavorably by 43% of voters," Greenberg said. "That 43% unfavorable rating is the highest it's ever been for Hochul. So her job approval, her favorability ratings, they’re above water barely. They're down a little bit from before election day."

Greenberg notes that in September 2021, Hochul’s first month in office, 42% of voters viewed her favorably, so the numbers have remained fairly consistent.

Greenberg says the tide has shifted for Zeldin, who is up 18 points from before the election.

"Lee Zeldin emerged from election day with by far his best ever favorability rating," said Greenberg. "Right now, it's stronger than Hochul’s. 46% of New Yorkers views Zeldin favorably. Only 32% view him unfavorably."

Greenberg says that while voters think Hochul demonstrates honesty and integrity 44-36%, a year ago the margin was 56-22%. Last year, 68% of Democrats, 47% of independents and 36% of Republicans said Hochul worked hard for New Yorkers. Today those numbers are 66, 35 and 21%.”

Greenberg sees the New Year as an opportunity for New York's first female governor.

“Governor Hochul has a chance now with the upcoming State of the State address and budget and the new 2023 session to hit the reset button and try and reintroduce herself to voters outside of the messy midterm transition and the fiercely fought election,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg says political friends and foes alike will be watching Hochul's actions and words in the weeks and months ahead, and how what she says and does impacts her standing with voters.

WAMC has reached out to the Hochul Administration and Congressman Zeldin's office for comment.

View a breakdown of the poll here.