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New Yorkers overwhelmingly support changes made to bail reform in the recently passed state budget – but only about a third believe it will help drive down crime, according to a new wide-ranging survey released Monday.
Two-thirds of registered voters said they supported changes to the state’s bail reform law that will make it easier for judges to jail defendants for gun crimes, violations of protection orders or multiple appearance tickets, according to the Siena College poll. Just 14 percent of voters said they opposed the changes.
“While the original bail reform law is still viewed as bad for the state, 54-34 percent, down a little from 56-30 percent last month, that largely depends on which side of the aisle you sit on,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a press release. “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.”
The poll, conducted between April 18 to 21, found that less than a quarter of voters approve of $600 million in state money to help fund a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills, while nearly three-quarters of voters support a six-month suspension of state gas taxes passed in the state budget that adds up to 16 cents.
Meanwhile, more voters support than oppose the legalization of to-go cocktails and authorization for additional downstate casinos.
And a slight majority of voters said they support a $4.2 billion bond act that will be on the statewide ballot this November.
Gov. Kathy Hochul backed changes to cash bail – which a past survey suggested would be popular with voters – as well as promised money for the Bills stadium and other controversial provisions of the record-breaking $220 billion spending plan approved more than a week past an April 1 state budget deadline.
The new poll also shows her struggling with voters as she campaigns ahead of the June 28 Democratic primary for governor.
Forty percent of voters said they would vote for her in the November election if she wins the June Democratic primary against centrist Rep. Thomas Suozzi and progressive New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, according to the poll. A total of 45% of voters said they would prefer to vote for someone other than Hochul in November.
“Hochul’s overall job performance rating, the worst it’s ever been, is 21 points underwater, after being 11 points underwater last month and just two points underwater 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 percent, although that’s down from 63-33 percent last month,” Greenberg said in the press release.
“On two top-of-mind concerns for voters – crime and economic issues – voters give Hochul even lower grades,” he added.
The poll, however, had some relatively good news for Hochul, who replaced disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year. A plurality of voters have a favorable impression of her while seemingly knowing little about the candidates who want to deprive her of winning a full term in office.
Big majorities of voters either do not know, or otherwise had no opinion of, any other 2022 gubernatorial candidate besides Republican Andrew Giuliani, son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Less than a quarter of voters have a favorable opinion of Rep. Lee Zeldin, the putative frontrunner for the GOP nomination, with 19% unfavorable and 59% of respondents expressing no opinion.
Still, voters appear bearish on the Empire State’s prospects despite Hochul’s recent efforts to tout the new state budget, especially with ongoing concerns about the economy, inflation, COVID-19 and fears about rising crime.
“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 percent,” Greenberg said in the press release. “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.”