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Latest Siena poll offers Hochul a mixed bag

Wearing a blue suit and purple tie, pollster Steve Greenberg talks to a journalist next to a TV camera.
Karen DeWitt
/
New York Public News Network
In this file photo, Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg speaks to the media on March 27, 2023.

A new Siena College poll finds that Gov. Kathy Hochul has her highest numbers in nearly a year, while President Joe Biden’s popularity and performance ranking falls to a new low in blue New York.

The poll offers a mixed bag for Hochul, who has been in office for 2½ years. Her job performance rating is above 50%, and more people view her favorably than unfavorably.

But Siena’s Steve Greenberg said New Yorkers don’t have a lot of faith in Hochul’s abilities to tackle major problems facing the state that she has identified, including addressing the affordable housing crisis, improving public safety, and making New York the artificial intelligence capital of the world.

“And on all five of those issues, a plurality or majority of voters do not think she will make progress this year on those issues,” Greenberg said.

The poll also offers a first look in 2024 at where New Yorkers stand on the presidential race.

In a state that has twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans, President Joe Biden’s favorability rating is underwater, with 53% viewing him negatively, compared to 43% who gave him a positive ranking.

While 70% of Democrats still back Biden, and nearly 90% of Republicans don’t like him, the key group of independent voters, who outnumber Republicans in the state, also dislike Biden. Among independents, 71% view him unfavorably, and three-quarters disapprove of his job performance.

When it comes to the likely Republican nominee, former President Donald Trump has solidified his base, with three-quarters of GOP voters in New York saying they want to see him become president again.

Biden still leads Trump, 46% to 37%, but Greenberg said that has to be worrisome for Democrats in the state. He said the last time a Republican carried New York was during Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign in 1984.

“The fact that Joe Biden is only up by nine points now has to be concerning to the Biden camp,” Greenberg said. “(And) to all Democrats in New York who are going to have to run with him as their standard-bearer.”

While the governor’s seat is not up for election for two more years, all 212 state legislative posts hold contests in November, as well as the state’s 26 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is also seeking re-election.

Several of the congressional races are expected to be close, and Democrats are seeking to take back four seats that flipped Republican in 2022.

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.