While NYers Strongly Support New Bail Law Changes, Only 1/3 Think They Will Decrease Crime; 38% Say They’ll Have No Effect

  • Voters Overwhelmingly Approve of Suspending NYS Gas Tax Through 2022; Nearly as Strongly Disapprove of the State’s $600M for a New Bills Stadium; Modest Approval for Bond Act, To-Go Drinks, NYC Casinos
  • Hochul’s Overall Job Rating Plunges; Specific Ratings Low, Particularly Crime & Economic Issues – Voters’ Top Concerns Looking to November

Press Release       Crosstabs     

Loudonville, NY. By 67-14%, voters support recent actions by the Governor and Legislature to amend the 2019 bail law, including strong majorities from every party, region, race, and gender. However, 38% say the amended bail law will have no effect on the crime rate, compared to 32% who say it will decrease the crime rate and 16% who say it will increase it, according to a new Siena College poll of registered New York State voters.

Voters overwhelmingly approve of the state suspending its 16 cents/gallon gas tax through December, 73-16%. They disapprove, 63-24%, of the state contributing $600 million towards a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills. Voters approve the $4.2 billion environmental bond act being on the ballot, 52-24%, legalizing the sale of to-go drinks by bars and restaurants, 50-38%, and moving forward on three New York City area casinos, 46-35%.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s favorability rating, 44-34%, is virtually unchanged from 45-35% last month. Her overall job performance rating is negative 36-57%, down from 43-53% last month. On five specific job performance ratings, between 54% and 69% give her a negative rating, including 69% on crime and 63% on economic issues. Crime and economic issues (jobs, inflation, taxes, etc.) were by far the top issues mentioned by voters as the most important to them in deciding which gubernatorial candidate to support in November.

“The changes the Governor and Legislature made to the bail law – including giving judges more discretion on setting bail in certain instances – enjoy strong support from voters across the board, with at least 58% of voters of every party, region and race supporting the changes,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

“On whether voters think these changes will affect the crime rate – by better than two-to-one, they think the 2019 bail law resulted in an increase in crime – the jury is still out,” Greenberg said. “While twice as many voters think the changes will decrease rather than increase crime, a plurality says the changes won’t affect the crime rate.”

“While the original bail reform law is still viewed as bad for the state, 54-34%, down a little from 56-30% last month, that largely depends on which side of the aisle you sit on. The overwhelming majority of Republicans and independents continue to say the law has been bad for the state, and Democrats, by a narrower but growing margin say the law has been good for New York.”

Gas Tax Suspension? Big Yes. Bills Stadium? Big No. Yes on Bond Act, To-Go Drinks, NYC Casinos

“For New Yorkers, reducing the gas tax appears to be in the same category as mom and apple pie. At least two-thirds of voters of every demographic group – party, region, age, gender, race, income, religion, ideology – approve of the state suspending its share of the gas tax between June and December,” Greenberg said.

“Also uniting voters is their disapproval of the state kicking in $600 million for a new Buffalo Bills stadium. It’s opposed by at least 55% of every demographic group,” Greenberg said. “Interestingly, upstaters are even less approving than downstaters of the stadium deal and are also less supportive of three New York City area casinos.”

Hochul Job Performance Rating Falls; Specific Job Performance Ratings Weak, Even with Democrats
“Hochul’s overall job performance rating, the worst it’s ever been, is 21 points under water, after being 11 points under water last month and just two points under water at the start of the year. As they have all year, Republicans give her an abysmal job performance rating, while independents also continue to give her a decidedly negative rating. Democrats are still positive, 55-42%, although that’s down from 63-33% last month,” Greenberg said.

“On two top-of-mind concerns for voters – crime and economic issues – voters give Hochul even lower grades. On fighting crime, only 24% of all voters and 37% of Democrats give her a positive rating, compared to 69% and 58%, respectively, who rate her as doing only a poor or fair job. Addressing economic issues, 63% of all voters and 48% of Democrats give her a negative rating,” Greenberg said. “On delivering on her pledge to restore trust in government, voters rate Hochul’s performance negatively 29-65%, even Democrats, 43-52%.

“Overall, 45% of voters say they’d vote for ‘someone else’ in November if Hochul is the Democratic nominee, while 40% are prepared to elect her to a full term. Democrats, however, would elect her to a full term 62-27%, down from 71-20% last month,” Greenberg said. “One bright spot in this month’s numbers for Hochul is her favorability rating, which remains consistent – between 42% and 46% positive every month since September – and positive. Among Democrats, her favorability rating is 60-16%, far better than her primary opponents.”

Crime & Key Economic Issues Will Dominate Voters’ Decisions on Who they Support for Governor
“One-quarter of voters say that crime will be the single most important issue in determining which candidate gets their support for governor in November. While taxes/fiscal responsibility finished a distant second, identified by 9%, all economic issues combined – including jobs, inflation, and the cost of living – are also identified by one-quarter of voters as the most important issue,” Greenberg said. “Integrity/ethics (7%) is the only other non-economic issue identified by more than 3% of voters as the most important in deciding their gubernatorial vote.

“There are some demographic differences – such as about one-third of Black, Latino and New York City voters identifying crime as the top issue, significantly higher than white voters and those from outside New York City. However, crime and economic issues were identified as the top issue by between 43% and 57% of voters of every region, party, and race,” Greenberg said.

Voters Glum on the Direction NYS & USA Are Headed; Not Optimistic About Post-Pandemic Finances
Voters say the state is headed in the wrong direction 52-36%, from 49-40% wrong direction last month. They say the country is also headed in the wrong direction, 57-34%, from 57-36% last month.

Asked about expectations for their household finances when the pandemic is no longer a threat, a small plurality, 42%, expect to be in a similar financial position as before the pandemic; 36% say the pandemic has seriously hurt their financial position; and 19% think they’ll emerge from the pandemic financially stronger.

“The last time voters were more pessimistic about the direction of the state than they are today was in David Paterson’s last month as governor, December 2010, when voters thought the state was headed in the wrong direction 60-29%,” Greenberg said. “Only slightly more than one-third of New Yorkers say the state is on the right track, and a similar number say the country is on the right track. The vast majority of those ‘optimists’ are Democrats. While Republicans and independents overwhelmingly say both are headed in the wrong direction, Democrats say the country is on the right track 48-40% and the state is on the right track 53-33%.

“While four in ten New Yorkers expect their post-pandemic household finances to be comparable to before the virus hit, among those who expect a change in their finances, nearly twice as many say that the pandemic seriously hurt their finances, rather than emerging from the pandemic financially stronger,” Greenberg said.

Odds & Ends

  • President Joe Biden’s favorability rating ticked up to 51-45%, from 50-46% last month. His job performance rating, however, took a major hit and is now negative 36-62%, down from 42-57% last month, within a point of his worst ever job performance rating, in February.
  • With nine weeks until the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, most of the candidates – excepting Hochul (and Andrew Giuliani, based on his last name) – remain largely unknown to a wide swath of voters, even voters in their own party:
  • With nine weeks until the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, most of the candidates – excepting Hochul (and Andrew Giuliani, based on his last name) – remain largely unknown to a wide swath of voters, even voters in their own party:
    • Kathy Hochul: 44-34% favorability rating with all voters (45-35% in March), and 60-16% with Democrats (67-17% in March)
    • Jumaane Williams: 24-20% overall (24-19%), 38-14% with Democrats (40-13%)
    • Tom Suozzi: 21-18% overall (20-18%), 26-16% with Democrats (25-16%)
    • Andrew Giuliani: 26-48% overall (25-50%), 38-31% with Republicans (46-29%)
    • Lee Zeldin: 22-19% overall (20-20%), 36-14% with Republicans (35-12%)
    • Rob Astorino: 18-20% overall (21-18%), 23-16% with Republicans (33-10%)
    • Harry Wilson: 12-11% overall (13-9%), 13-12% with Republicans (13-9%)

This Siena College Poll was conducted April 18-21, 2022, among 806 New York State registered voters with 506 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. 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: www.Siena.edu/SCRI/SNY.