Voters: Cost of Living in New York Is Top Issue for Albany to Address; Other Major Problems: Crime, Migrant Influx & Affordable Housing

  • 57% Say Quality of Life in NYS is Getting Worse; Only 14% Getting Better
  • Six in Ten Voters Say Biden Not Fit to Serve 4-Year Term as Next President; Six in Ten Voters Say Trump Not Fit; Plurality of 34% Says Both Are Unfit
  • Majority Says Trump Should Not Be Allowed to Run Because of His Indictments; Plurality Supports House of Representatives Opening Biden Impeachment Inquiry

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. More than eight in ten voters say that the cost of living in New York is a major problem – including at least 80% of Democrats, Republicans and independents – and 27%, a plurality, say it is the most important issue that the Governor and Legislature should be working on now. Crime, the recent influx of migrants and the availability of affordable housing are the next three most important issues for New Yorkers. Fifty-seven percent say the quality of life in the state is getting worse, while 27% say it’s staying the same and 14% say it’s getting better, according to a new Siena College poll of registered New York State voters released today.

A plurality of voters, 34%, say neither President Joe Biden nor former President Donald Trump is fit to serve a four-year term as the nation’s next President, while 28% think Trump is fit but not Biden, 26% say Biden is and Trump isn’t, and 9% say both are fit. Voters say, 55-39%, Trump should not be allowed to run for President based on his indictments, and by 46-40%, voters support the House opening an impeachment inquiry into Biden.

“In assessing the severity of problems facing New York, there is, surprisingly, considerable agreement among Democrats, Republicans and independents,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “At least 80% of each partisan group thinks the cost of living in the state is a major problem. At least 71% of each say affordable housing is a major problem, as do at least 64% of each about crime, and at least 51% of each about the migrant influx.

“With many voters seeing multiple major problems facing the state, Siena asked voters to pick the single most important issue they want Hochul and legislators to address. With 27% – including more than one-third of independents – the cost of living in the state rose to the top, but not far behind were crime, 19%, the migrant influx, 18%, and affordable housing, 17%,” Greenberg said. “Those top four issues were also the top four for Republicans, Democrats and independents, though in different orders.

“For Republicans, addressing the migrant issue is the most important issue – even bigger than cost of living. For Democrats, availability of affordable housing is virtually tied with cost of living as the top issue,” Greenberg said.

Majority Says Quality of Life in NYS Getting Worse & Majority Says State Headed in Wrong Direction

“A huge majority of Republicans, a large majority of independents and a plurality of Democrats all say the quality of life in New York is getting worse. In fact, a majority of virtually every demographic group – pluralities of Democrats, liberals and New York City voters – say things are getting worse,” Greenberg said. “Only 4% of independents, 5% of Republicans and 22% of Democrats say things in New York are getting better.

“Similarly, by a 52-35% margin, voters say the state is headed in the wrong direction, not on the right track, including 81% of Republicans and 55% of independents,” Greenberg said. “On the other hand, 49% of Democrats say the state is on the right track. Last month, voters said the state was headed in the wrong direction 48-39%.”

62% Say Biden Unfit for 4-Year Term as President; 60% Say Same for Trump; 1/3 Say Both Unfit

“While 74% of Republicans say Trump is fit for a four-year term as President, and 56% of Democrats say Biden is fit, a plurality of independents, 45%, says both are unfit,” Greenberg said. “Biden is seen as fit by 20% of independents and only 6% of Republicans, while 32% of independents and 23% of Democrats say Trump is fit.

“Among voters 55 and older, only 26% say neither is fit for a four-year term, while 45% of voters under 35 say that both are unfit,” Greenberg said. “Neither Biden nor Trump is fit to serve a four-year term, according to 30% of white voters, 37% of Black voters, and nearly half, 47%, of Latino voters.”

Biden Favorability & Lead Over Trump Up this Month; Plurality Support House Impeachment Inquiry

Biden’s favorability rating is 50-45%, up from 46-50% in August. His job approval rating is 47-48%, compared to 47-50% last month. In a head-to-head matchup, Biden leads Trump 52-31%, up from 47-34% last month. Among Democrats, 54% want him as nominee in 2024, 40% want someone else (up from 47-46% in August).

“New York voters give the President good news and bad news this month. On the good news side, Biden’s favorability rating is up nine points. His lead over Trump is up eight points over the last month, and Democrats have warmed to his being their nominee next year,” Greenberg said. “On the bad news front, a plurality of voters – including 72% of Republicans, 47% of independents (two-to-one in support), and even 35% of Democrats – support the House of Representatives beginning an impeachment inquiry into Biden. Women oppose the inquiry by four points while men support it by 17 points.”

Voters Say Trump Should Not Be Able to Run, Given Indictments; Favorability Rating Slips

Voters say, 55-39%, Trump should not be able to run for president because of his indictments. His favorability rating is negative 33-61%, down from 37-56% in August. Among Republicans, 63% say Trump is their choice for the 2024 presidential nomination, compared to 32% who want another candidate (was 64-27 in August).

“While Democrats, 79%, and independents, 62%, continue to have an unfavorable view of Trump, New York Republicans overwhelmingly view him favorably, 72-23%. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans say they will vote for him as their nominee,” Greenberg said. “Similarly, 71% of Democrats and 57% of independents say Trump should not be allowed to run for President given his indictments, while more than three-quarters of Republicans say he should be able to run, and they support him in a general election matchup over Biden 79-8%.”

Voters: Tax Rich, Ban Assault Weapons & Federally Protect Abortion Rights

Voters would rather vote for a presidential candidate who says: tax those earning more than $400,000, 68-22%; outlaw assault weapons, 60-31%; and federally protect abortion rights, 57-35%. On Ukraine, voters are closely divided, with 45% supporting a candidate who wants to continue to supply Ukraine with aid for as long as it takes to defeat Russia, and 43% supporting a candidate who says we have to stop providing a blank check and negotiate an end to the war.

“Voters would rather support a presidential candidate who favors taxing those over $400,000, with a plurality of Republicans joining huge majorities of Democrats and independents. Democrats and independents also agree – while Republicans disagree – that they’d prefer a candidate who supports banning assault weapons, and one who supports ensuring abortion access is a federally protected right,” Greenberg said. “While 55% of Democrats want a candidate who supports continuing to aid Ukraine, 55% of Republicans oppose such a candidate, with independents closely divided but leaning in opposition.”

Voters Give Hochul a Small Bounce in Favorability & Job Approval Ratings

Governor Kathy Hochul has a 40-41% favorability rating, up a little from 40-46% in August. Her job approval rating stands at 48-41%, up from 46-46% last month.

“Hochul’s favorability rating improved a little, although the 40% who view her favorably continues to match her gubernatorial low water mark. And her job approval rating moved back into positive territory after being dead even last month,” Greenberg said. “This is the first time we’ve seen her job approval rating move in the positive direction since January. It remains to be seen whether she has reversed the negative trend line, or this is simply a positive blip. Stay tuned.”

Odds & Ends

  • By nearly two-to-one, 60-33%, voters say next year’s presidential election is the most important of their lives. Interestingly, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly say it’s the most important election, while independents are closely divided, 45-42%, leaning toward 2024 being the most important election.
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s favorability rating is 41-27%, up slightly from 39-28% in August. Voters are divided on whether they would re-elect Gillibrand or they would prefer ‘someone else,’ with 41% prepared to re-elect her and 37% preferring someone else, up from 40-41% in June.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris has a 46-44% favorability rating, compared to the 56-34% favorability rating she had as she was assuming the office of Vice President, the last time Siena asked about her.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has a 47-37% favorability rating, compared to 48-38% last month. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has an 18-61% favorability rating (24-55% in March 2020, the last time Siena asked). Speaker Kevin McCarthy has a 24-44% favorability rating, down from 30-41% in January. Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ favorability rating is 32-22%, little changed from 33-20% in January.
  • New Yorkers continue to believe the United States will still be a democratic republic in 2030, 71-18%, up slightly from 70-23% in December 2022.


This Siena College Poll was conducted September 10 – 13, 2023, among 804 NYS Registered Voters. Of the 804 respondents, 504 were contacted through a dual frame (landline and cell phone) mode and 300 respondents were drawn from a proprietary online panel (Cint). 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 and cell phone telephone numbers weighted to reflect known population patterns. The landline telephone sample was obtained from ASDE and the cell phone sample was obtained from Dynata. Data from collection modes was statistically adjusted by age, party by region, race/ethnicity, education, and gender to ensure representativeness. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.3 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 Greenbergat (518) 469-9858. For survey crosstabs: