Strong Majority (58%) Want Early March Data Before Lifting School Mask Mandate; Plurality (45%) Still Want Indoor Public Mask Mandate

kathy hochul in mask
  • Nine in Ten Say Crime is Serious Problem (60% Very) Across NYS; Nearly 2/3 Say Crime is Serious Problem (27% Very) in Their Community; Overwhelming Support (65-27%) to Give Judges More Discretion on Bail
  • Hochul Continues Huge Lead Among Dems; Williams Distant Second; By 80-13%, Voters Say Cuomo Made Right Decision to Resign in August

Press Release       Crosstabs      Mask Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. A majority of New Yorkers, 58%, says that we should wait for early March data before deciding whether to lift the school mask mandate, compared to 30% who say the school mask mandate should have ended already, and 10% who want to see it end after this week’s school break. On New York’s indoor public mask mandate, a plurality, 45%, says the mandate should still be in place, compared to 31% who say it should have ended earlier than it did, and 20% who say it ended at the right time, according to a new Siena College poll of registered New York State voters released today.

Sixty percent say crime is a very serious problem across New York, with another 31% saying it’s somewhat serious. Closer to home, 27% say crime in their community is a very serious problem and another 36% say somewhat serious. Nearly one-quarter of New Yorkers are very concerned they may be a victim of crime. By a 65-27% margin, voters say ‘the so-called bail reform law should be amended to give judges more discretion to keep dangerous criminals off the streets,’ rather than the law shouldn’t be ‘amended to give discretion on bail back to judges because it could once again lead to people of color being disproportionately denied bail.’

“Waiting to see data from early March before deciding to lift the school mask mandate – as opposed to lifting that mandate as schools reconvene next week or wishing it had been lifted previously – is how the majority of New Yorkers would like to proceed,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “The majority of virtually every demographic group agrees, though not Republicans and conservatives, who wish the mandate had ended already.

“While nearly two-thirds of voters without children at home support waiting for March data to decide on the school mask mandate, state and school officials face a ‘lose/lose’ proposition with their constituents most closely affected by this decision – regardless of the decision – since voters with children under 18 in their household are closely divided between waiting for data to decide and masks should have been off already,” Greenberg said.

sny graph feb 2022

“There is no clear consensus on mandating masks in indoor public spaces. Half of voters want the mandate finished – 20% said February 10 was the right time to end it and 31% said it should have ended earlier,” Greenberg said. “Still, a plurality of voters, 45%, say the indoor mask mandate should remain in place.”

NYers Overwhelmingly Say Crime Is Serious Problem; Strongly Support Amending Bail Reform Law
“New Yorkers say crime is a serious problem across the state. More than half of every demographic group say it is a very serious problem and at least 84% of every demographic say it is at least a somewhat serious problem,” Greenberg said. “Voters see crime in their community as a serious problem, although more than one-third say it’s not very or not at all serious. However, a majority of every demographic group says crime in their community is a somewhat or very serious problem, with the exception of downstate suburbanites, ‘only 45%’ of whom say it is.

“Overall, 57% say they are very or somewhat concerned about being a victim of crime themselves. While about half of upstaters, downstate suburbanites and whites are concerned that they will be a victim, 71% of all New York City voters and about two-thirds of Black and Latino voters are concerned,” Greenberg said.

“Nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers – including strong majorities of Republicans, independents and Democrats, upstaters and downstaters – support amending the 2019 bail reform law and giving judges more discretion to keep dangerous criminals off the streets,” Greenberg said. “Voters of color and young voters are more closely divided. Young voters favor amending the law by 12 points, Latinos by seven points and Black voters by four points.”

Hochul Still Favorite of Dems by Wide Margin; Williams Far Behind; Suozzi Further Behind
“The official designee of the Democratic Party, Governor Kathy Hochul remains the clear favorite among New York Democrats. Hochul has the support of 46% of Democrats, compared to 17% for New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and nine percent for Rep. Tom Suozzi. More than one-quarter of Democrats remain undecided,” Greenberg said. “While Williams has a narrow 39-32% lead over Hochul with Black voters and he’s within three points of Hochul with younger voters, Hochul has a large to commanding lead with virtually all other demographic groups, with large double-digit leads in every region.”

Voters Continue To View Cuomo 2:1 Unfavorably; Don’t Think He’s Vindicated; Right to Resign
Former Governor Andrew Cuomo has a negative 33-60% favorability, exactly the same as October. By a 58-21% margin, voters think he did sexually harass multiple women, little changed from 56-20% in September. Voters say he has not been vindicated, 56-25%. By a 47-27% margin, voters say they believe Attorney General Letitia James, who says Cuomo is a ‘serial sexual harasser,’ more than they believe Cuomo, who says the investigation against him was a ‘political hit job.’ And by 80-13%, voters say Cuomo made the right decision to resign.

“New Yorkers are not ready to forgive and forget when it comes to Cuomo. By two-to-one, they view him unfavorably. By more than two-to-one, voters say both that he has committed sexual harassment against multiple women, and, despite there being no criminal charges, he has not been vindicated,” Greenberg said. “By a 20-point margin, they believe James’ description of Cuomo as a ‘serial sexual harasser’ more than they believe Cuomo’s description of a ‘political hit job’ against him. Bottom line: 80% say he made the right decision to resign.”

Voters Very Worried About Inflation – on the Economy and their Personal Finances
“In December, voters said inflation was having a serious negative effect on both the economy and their personal finances. Today, those inflation worries have grown. More than nine in ten voters say inflation is having at least a somewhat serious negative effect on the economy, 63% very serious, up from 49% very serious in December,” Greenberg said. “In December, 66% said inflation was having at least a somewhat serious negative effect on their personal finances, 29% very serious. Now, that’s up to 78% saying inflation is having a negative effect on their finances, 39% very serious. Like crime, inflation is very much on voters’ minds heading into the midterms.”

Odds & Ends

  • President Joe Biden’s ratings fell to their lowest levels since taking office. His favorability rating is 48-48%, down from 52-42% last month, and 65-29% in February 2021. His job performance rating is negative 36-63%, down from 39-60 percent last month, and 55-37% in February 2021.
  • Four months from the June primary, the three most prominent Republican gubernatorial candidates have favorability ratings that are little changed since the fall. Andrew Giuliani has a 28-47% favorability rating with all voters, and 47-28% with Republicans. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s rating is 18-20% with all voters and 27-16% with Republicans. Rob Astorino’s favorability rating is 18-14% with all voters and 21-13% with Republicans.

This Siena College Poll was conducted February 14-17, 2022 among 803 New York State registered voters with 503 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. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. There were 396 Democrats, with a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points including the design effect resulting from weighting. 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: