ALBANY — New Yorkers think Gov. Hochul is off to a good start just weeks into her full term as the first woman elected governor of the state.
A new Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday found the governor is enjoying her highest ever job approval rating at 56% with Democrats and independents boosting the Buffalo native’s numbers.
The governor’s job approval rating was 49% last month. Hochul’s favorability rating is at 48%, the highest it’s been since she took office following the resignation of Andrew Cuomo in August 2021.
New Yorkers are also on board with several policy proposals floated by the governor earlier this month as she unveiled her agenda at her first State of the State address since her narrow victory over Republican Lee Zeldin in November.
Hochul’s plans include linking the minimum wage to the rate of inflation, once again making changes to the state’s controversial cashless bail laws, building hundreds of thousands of affordable housing units and more broadly popular ideas.
“Kicking off the 2023 legislative session with her first State of the State address, chock full of proposals that have strong voter support, Hochul sees her job approval rating hit its highest level, jumping from a positive five points last month to a 20-point positive approval rating today,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “The jump — despite continued strong partisan divide — is largely thanks to independent and downstate voters.”
When it comes to raising income taxes this year, voters overwhelmingly agree with Hochul that no increases are needed.
The Siena poll found no difference among Democrats, Republicans and independents, who all oppose raising taxes.
Strong majorities of voters of every persuasion backed Hochul’s proposals including guaranteeing state employees up to 12 weeks of paid family leave, tying the minimum wage to inflation and giving judges more discretion to set bail for offenders accused of serious crimes.
A total of 76% of New Yorkers support basing minimum wage increases on the rate of inflation.
On the other end, however, 62% of those surveyed oppose a plan to allow SUNY schools to raise tuition.
The poll is a bit of good news for the governor after last month’s Siena survey found New Yorkers felt Hochul fell short on following through with her goals set during her first State of the State.
Hochul is also currently embroiled in a faceoff against her fellow Dems in the state Senate after they rejected her pick to head up the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court.
The Senate has never before turned down a governor’s choice to chief judge. Hochul and supporters of her nominee, Hector LaSalle, are weighing whether to sue the Senate in order to force a full floor vote.
Later this month, Hochul is expected to release her budget overview. The blueprint will provide more details about the governor’s plans and priorities and how she intends to pay for everything.
A state spending plan must be negotiated and then approved by lawmakers by April 1.
Some New Yorkers still have their doubts about just how much Hochul will be able to accomplish.
According to the poll, a majority of New Yorkers don’t believe the governor will be able to make progress in 2023 on making the state more affordable. A plurality of voters also doubt that Hochul will make any progress on making the state safer or addressing mental health issues. Voters are closely divided on whether they think she will make progress on creating 800,000 new homes, according to Greenberg.
“With the exception of making New York more affordable — even Democrats don’t think she’ll make progress on that — Democrats are optimistic that Hochul will make progress on all five goals,” Greenberg said. “On the other hand, by margins of between 46 and 70 percentage points, Republicans say she will not make progress toward achieving any of her goals.”
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