Governor Kathy Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings both dipped in February, according to the findings of a Siena College poll released Monday.
Support for some of the measures Hochul would like to include in the upcoming state budget, which is due April 1, proved to be mixed, based on poll results.
Survey respondents backed her plan to lift cigarette taxes by $1 a pack by a margin of 62% in support to 33% opposed. Respondents, however, were less receptive to her call to expand the state’s film tax credit program, with 48% opposed to it and 41% in support. They also didn’t care for a proposal that would ban items such as gas stoves in all new construction by 2028, with 53% in opposition to 39% in support.
Hochul’s favorability rating ticked down from 48-42% in January to 46-43% in February. Respondents by a 56% to 40% margin said they approved of the job she is doing in February, although there was a higher percentage of people who disapproved of her performance this month compared to January. For instance, in January, 36% disapproved the job she was doing as opposed to 40%.
“Both Hochul’s favorability and job approval ratings dipped a little this month, but her favorability remains slightly positive, and her overall job approval rating remains strong,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
The results, based on a survey of 744 registered voters conducted from Feb. 19 to Feb. 23, also showed that voters want Hochul to make public safety and affordability—given inflation—a priority.
Both are issues that New Yorkers want Albany to address—something they have been demanding for some time. The poll found that 36% of respondents viewed crime as their top issue, with 27% saying it was living costs, 13% saying affordable housing, with issues like public health, the environment and racial justice in the single digits.
“Crime and cost of living were voters’ top two priorities for Albany back in December… and they remain the two issues voters want Hochul and the legislature to prioritize,” Greenberg said.
Crime is the biggest concern particularly for Republicans and suburbanites.
“Crime is the top priority for Republicans, independents, downstate suburbanites, and upstaters, while for Democrats and New York City voters, cost of living edges out crime for the single top priority,” Greenberg added.
The poll found support for linking the minimum wage to inflation—which Hochul supports—by a margin of 70% to 26%. The current minimum wage in New York City is $15 per hour.
The poll also found that the governor’s plan to ban flavored tobacco products, such as menthol, was viewed favorably by 57% to 35%.
On some issues there was a clear division between Republicans and Democrats.
For instance, 56% of Democrats supported expanding the film tax credit as opposed to 25% of Republicans. Additionally, 61% of Democrats supporting banning fossil fuel equipment in homes—including gas stoves—vs. 17 % of Republicans.
“Expanding the film tax credit is supported by Democrats but more strongly opposed by Republicans and independents,” Greenberg said. “Similarly, Democrats strongly support Hochul’s proposal on prohibiting fossil fuel-burning equipment in most new construction within the next several years, however Republicans and independents are even stronger in their opposition.”
The poll did cover some odds and ends. For instance, the survey found that more than two-thirds of respondents believed that Rep. George Santos should resign from congress—and that he is not getting any popular.
He had a negativity rating of 56% in January which went up to 64% in February. The calls for his resignation are universal.
“It’s not just that 72% of Democrats want him to resign. So do 63% of independents and 58% of Republicans,” Greenberg said.