New York Gov. Kathy Hochul maintains an early lead in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to a Siena College poll of registered voters released Tuesday.
The poll found 36% of New York Democrats favor Hochul in the gubernatorial primary, followed by Attorney General Letitia James at 18%, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams at 10%, and Rep. Tom Suozzi at 6%. Outgoing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has not entered the race but is weighing a bid, also ranked at 6%. The remaining 24% are undecided or said they would back another candidate.
Hochul, formerly lieutenant governor, became New York's first female governor in August after then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned amid a slew of sexual harassment allegations.
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Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement that Hochul “continues to have a double-digit lead over her opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and, unlike what is often seen in early polls, it is not completely based on name recognition.”
“After all, Hochul and James have very similar favorability ratings among all voters — with nearly identical favorability ratings among Democrats," Greenberg said. "And de Blasio is the most known — and most disfavored — candidate among all voters and with just Democrats.”
Voters ranked their top priorities for the next governor of New York as creating economic opportunity and fighting crime, with 26% each, followed by managing the pandemic, with 18%.
Greenberg noted the field remains fluid this early in the campaign cycle.
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“With all the candidates trying to introduce themselves to voters and stand out among a growing field, Hochul has the advantage of incumbency and the largest bully pulpit and it appears to be helping her in this early going,” he said. “But as Yogi so sagely put it, ‘It gets late early out there.’ The first financial filings in the race will come next month, the state convention the following month and the primary in just 28 weeks. The clock is ticking and all the gubernatorial campaigns — on both sides of the aisle — have their work cut out for them.”
In what could be a negative sign for Hochul, the poll also found that for the first time since February 2020, fewer New Yorkers say the state is on the right track, at 41%, rather than on the wrong track, at 45%, a decrease from a split of 44% to 43% on this question last month.
Although the poll found that most voters would support the federal passage of the Build Back Better Act, nearly half of respondents said they are concerned it will increase inflation.
“While there is strong support for Build Back Better overall, there is large to huge support for each of the components,” Greenberg said, noting that some of the bill’s provisions even have majority support among GOP voters.
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“Forty-seven percent of voters — including 69 percent of Republicans, 52 percent of independents and 33 percent of Democrats — say the BBB Act would increase inflation,” Greenberg said. “Currently, about half of voters say that inflation is having a very serious negative effect on the nation’s economy, and more than one-quarter say it is having a serious negative impact on their personal finances.”
The Democratic gubernatorial primary is on June 28, 2022.