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Siena poll shows Hochul's favorable rating is ‘underwater’ for first time

Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on May 15, 2023.
Mike Groll
Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks at a news conference at the state Capitol on May 15, 2023.

A Siena College poll out Tuesday shows Gov. Kathy Hochul’s popularity with New Yorkers is on a steady downward trend. And for the first time, more voters view her unfavorably than those who view her positively.

Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg said Hochul’s favorability rating among potential voters has dropped by 11 points since January. He said the governor is now “underwater,” with 45% of those surveyed viewing her unfavorably and 40% viewing her favorably.

Her job approval rating has also dropped by a few points, and now just 50% of New Yorkers think she is doing a good or excellent job.

“New Yorkers are not thrilled with Governor Hochul,” Greenberg said. “We see, over the last few months, her job approval and favorability ratings starting to drop.”

Hochul, a Democrat, scores poorly with Republicans, and less than one-third of independent voters — an often-important swing faction in elections — view her favorably. And just 57% of Democrats have a positive view of her.

Hochul, who became governor in August 2021, after former Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned, has never seen her favorable numbers rise above 50%.

On the positive side, most poll respondents said they believe the governor is hard-working, and a plurality of voters said she is honest and not corrupt.

Greenberg said there is no easy explanation for Hochul’s disconnect with voters. Some of the same respondents who view her unfavorably also said they agree with many of the policies that Hochul championed and were enacted in the recently approved state budget.

“A billion dollars for mental health services, increasing the minimum wage, reform of the bail law to give judges more discretion, $100 million for abortion providers and reproductive health,” Greenberg said. “All of those issues, the voters of New York state say, these bills, these laws will be good for New York.”

Hochul is governing at a time when most politicians of both parties are unpopular. Even so, the poll found that President Joe Biden’s popularity has increased during the same time period.

He is now viewed favorably by 56% of the state’s Democrats, up from 43% earlier this year. Sixty percent of Republicans in the state favor former President Donald Trump for the 2024 elections, while nearly a third said they would prefer someone else.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.