Hochul takes popularity dip in latest poll. Here’s what New Yorkers say concerns them the most.

Governor Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings dipped a net 8% compared to last month in new Siena College poll. Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024.
Susan Watts/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings took an 8-percentage point plunge compared to last month, even though the majority of New Yorkers see her as hard-working, according to a new Siena College poll released Tuesday.

The survey, which includes 806 New York registered voters and was conducted between Feb. 12-14, gave Hochul a 41% to 46% favorability rating, which dropped from the 45% to 42% she received last month. Her job approval score came out to 48% to 47% — down from the 52% to 43% she got in January.

“After recording her best favorability and job approval ratings in nearly a year last month, Hochul saw both fall by net eight points this month, with her favorability rating slipping back into negative territory, where it spent most of 2023,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, in a statement.

The pollster said the governor’s numbers took the biggest dive with downstate suburban voters. The poll comes after Hochul released her $233 billion executive budget proposal last month and former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi won a special election in a northeastern Queens and Nassau County district last week on a centrist message.

“Whether it was her budget proposals, her efforts on issues of importance to voters, or perhaps the recent attention-grabbing special election in Queens and Nassau, both Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings fell the most with downstate suburban voters and Democrats,” Greenberg said.

He added Hochul’s performance numbers may also have taken a hit from the majority of voters — 56% to 14% — thinking the quality of life in New York is getting worse. 

While Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings fell, New York voters gave her mixed reviews on some key leadership traits. For instance, a majority — 56% to 18% — see Hochul as hardworking, but many — 43% to 33% — think she is “out of touch” with average New Yorkers.

Also good for Hochul is that 49% of voters say she is not corrupt. However, that sentiment is far more mixed when it comes to Republicans, 34% of whom say she is not corrupt, compared to 33% who say she is.

The survey also asked state voters which issues they see as most pressing for the governor and state legislature to address.

The cost of living ranked highest, with 29% of New York voters seeing that as the state’s top issue, followed by the migrant crisis, crime and affordable housing at 23%, 15% and 13% respectively. 

“New Yorkers were clear on the top issues they wanted the Governor and Legislature to address in September, and those are the same issues they want Albany to address today,” Greenberg said. “The cost of living in the state, the recent influx of migrants to New York, crime, and the need for affordable housing were the top issues in the fall and remain the top issues today.”