New Yorkers Say Worst of the Pandemic Is Still to Come 55-31%

covid mask and sanitizer
  • Nearly 3/4 of NYers Have or Plan to Get Vaccinated; 1/4 Do Not
  • Voters Say Biden Administration Will Have Positive Impact on NYS; They Also Say Incoming Senate Majority Leader Schumer Will Too
  • Voters – Other than Republicans – Support NY Attorney General James Continuing to Investigate Trump’s Businesses’ Financial Dealings
  • Majority – 57-37% – Is Optimistic About America Looking Forward in 2021

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. By a 55-31 percent margin, New Yorkers say the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come rather than over. Seven percent of New Yorkers say they have already been vaccinated and among those who have not, 69 percent say they plan to get vaccinated and 27 percent say they do not, according to a new Siena College Poll of New York State voters released today.

Fifty-four percent of voters say the incoming Biden Administration will have a positive impact on New York, compared to 23 percent who say it will have a negative impact and 16 percent who say it will have no real impact. New Yorkers also say, 49-22 percent, as Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer will have a positive impact on the state, with 18 percent saying no real impact. By almost two-to-one, 62-33 percent, voters support Attorney General Letitia James continuing to investigate the financial dealings of President Donald Trump’s businesses.

“While 31 percent of New Yorker think the worst of the pandemic is over, 55 percent say the worst is yet to come. Unlike some issues that divide New Yorkers by partisanship, geography or race, this question doesn’t. A majority of between 50 and 61 percent of Democrats, Republicans, independents, upstaters, downstaters, Black, Latino and white voters all think the worst of the pandemic is still in front of us,” said Steven Greenberg, Siena College pollster. “In fact, a majority of every demographic group says the worst is still to come, with the exception of voters under 35 – only a plurality – and conservatives, a plurality of whom think the worst is over.

“New York – like the country – has a long way to go on getting people vaccinated for COVID-19, with only seven percent saying they’ve received the vaccine. More than two-thirds of those who’ve not yet been vaccinated say they plan to but about one-quarter of New Yorkers say they don’t plan on getting the vaccine, including about one-third of Republicans, independents, voters under 35, and Black and Latino voters,” Greenberg said.

Voters Say Biden and Schumer Will Each Have Positive Impact on NY in Their New Roles
“President-elect Joe Biden – who continues to have a two-to-one positive favorability rating and have two-thirds of voters approve of the way he’s acted as president-elect – has some high expectations to meet with New York voters,” Greenberg said. “By a 54-23 percent margin, voters say the Biden Administration will have a positive impact on New York, a view shared by three-quarters of Democrats and a plurality of independents. However, Republicans, by a two-to-one margin, say the Biden Administration will have a negative impact on the state.

“A strong majority of downstaters think the incoming administration will have a positive impact, as do a wide plurality of upstaters. At least half of white and Latino voters are optimistic about Biden’s impact on New York, as are three-quarters of Black voters,” Greenberg said.

“New Yorkers are also optimistic that New York’s senior senator – soon to be in his new role as Majority Leader – will have a positive impact on the state. Democrats, voters from New York City and Black voters are most optimistic about Schumer’s impact, but among party, geography and race, only Republicans – and only a plurality of them – think Schumer will have a negative impact on the state,” Greenberg said.

By Nearly Two-to-One, Voters Support AG James’ Continuing to Investigate Trump Businesses
“While 63 percent of Republicans oppose James’ continuing to investigate the financial dealings of the Trump Organization, they are in the minority among New Yorkers. Support for the New York AG’s continuing to investigate Trump’s businesses is strong to overwhelming among Democrats, independents, downstaters and upstaters, white, Black and Latino voters,” Greenberg said. “While James is not known by half of voters, among those who know her, she has a positive two-to-one favorability rating, largely on the strength of Democrats, Black and New York City voters.

For Majority of New Yorkers, 2021 Provides Optimism for America
Fifty-seven percent of voters, when asked to consider all that’s happened in the last year, are optimistic (15 percent very optimistic) about America as they look forward to 2021, compared to 37 percent who are pessimistic (16 percent very pessimistic).

“Despite everything that’s happened in the last year – from the pandemic to the events at the US Capitol and all the political changes – and despite that the majority think the worst of the pandemic is still to come, and despite that a majority say the country is headed in the wrong direction, 57 percent of New Yorkers are optimistic about America looking forward to 2021,” Greenberg said.

“At least two-thirds of Democrats and New York City voters are optimistic. But so, too, are a majority of downstate suburbanites, upstaters, Blacks, whites, and Latinos. Independents are evenly divided between optimists and pessimists, while Republicans are closely divided but lean toward pessimism,” Greenberg said.

Cuomo Ratings Hold Largely Steady and Remain Positive
Governor Andrew Cuomo has a 57-39 percent favorability rating, little changed from 56-39 percent in November. His job performance rating is 56-42 percent, up a little from 54-45 percent in November. By a 63-32 percent margin, voters approve of Cuomo’s handling of the pandemic, little changed from 63-30 percent. Currently, 48 percent of voters say they are prepared to re-elect Cuomo if he runs for re-election in 2022 and 42 percent say they would ‘prefer someone else,’ down a bit from 51-42 percent in November.

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“Cuomo, whose ratings have continued to be strong since March and the onset of the pandemic, remains very popular with Democrats and gets mixed reviews from independents. Two-thirds of Republicans continue to both view Cuomo unfavorably and give him a negative job performance rating,” Greenberg said.

“Interestingly, while 57 percent of New Yorkers view Cuomo favorably, 56 percent give him a positive job performance rating and 63 percent approve of his handling of the pandemic, only 48 percent of voters – including 61 percent of Democrats – are prepared to re-elect him. Forty-two percent of voters – including 67 percent of Republicans – would prefer ‘someone else,’ ” Greenberg said.

“Voters say 53-37 percent – down from 57-35 percent in November – that the Legislature should continue to allow Cuomo to manage the state with the extraordinary executive powers they gave him at the beginning of the pandemic,” Greenberg said. “A majority of Democrats and downstaters think he should maintain those executive powers, as do a plurality of independents and, by a narrow margin, upstaters. A majority of Republicans would like to see the Legislature discontinue those executive powers for the governor.

Biden & Harris Top List of New York’s Favorite Pols; de Blasio & Trump Bring Up the Rear

Odds & Ends

  • Addressing the pandemic remains the top issue that New Yorkers want to see the Governor and Legislature address in 2021 – one-third make it their top choice and half make it one of their top two choices. Helping businesses succeed, creating jobs and improving health care are the next top priorities for voters. Closing the state budget deficit, adequate funding for public schools and addressing racial inequality issues rounded out the bottom three.
  • New Yorkers continue to support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in New York 56-33 percent, down from 60-32 percent, the strongest support legalization has ever had in a Siena College poll, in November. It is strongly supported by Democrats and independents, but Republicans oppose 54-33 percent, after having narrowly supported it in November. Young voters overwhelmingly support it, while a plurality of voters over 55 oppose it.
  • By a 48-35 percent margin, down from 50-32 percent in November, voters support online sports betting. It is supported – though not widely – by Democrats, Republicans and independents. Similarly, it has plurality support in all three regions of the state.
  • The State Senate has a 51-30 percent favorability rating, little changed from 50-31 percent in November. The Assembly has a 48-28 percent favorability rating, little changed from 47-28 percent in November. For both houses, this month either sets or ties the record for their lowest-ever unfavorable rating.
  • When it comes to the legislative leaders, they both remain largely unknown. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has an 18-12 percent favorability rating, with 71 percent not knowing her, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has a 13-13 percent favorability rating, with 75 percent not knowing him.
  • As Trump leaves the presidency, he has a negative 30-66 percent favorability rating, down from 33-64 percent in November. And he has a negative 31-68 percent job performance rating, down from 34-65 percent in November.
  • By nearly two-to-one, 59-31 percent, voters say the country is headed on the wrong track, not in the right direction, up significantly from 48-38 percent in November.
  • Voters are more positive about the direction of the state. By a 50-40 percent margin, little changed from 50-37 percent in November, voters say the state is headed in the right direction.

This Siena College Poll was conducted January 10-13, 2021 among 804 New York State registered voters with 504 voters contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 300 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 by region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social, and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Steve Greenberg at (518) 469-9858. For survey crosstabs: