Marist New York State Poll: Governor Hochul Approval, October 2021

Governor Kathy Hochul: So Far New Yorkers Approve, But No Guarantees for 2022

Fifty days after being sworn in, New York Governor Kathy Hochul enjoys positive support from state residentsMore than half rate her favorably (55%), her approval rating is +18 percentage points (49% – 31%), and 56% say she is a “good leader” for the state. In contrast, the numbers are not encouraging for former Governor Andrew Cuomo77% of New Yorkers say they do not want him to run to reclaim the office next year including 74% of Democrats.

Hochul Approval
Do you approve or disapprove of the job Kathy Hochul is doing as governor?
Source: Marist Poll New York State Adults. Interviews conducted October 4th through October 7th, 2021, n=822 MOE +/- 4.8 percentage points.
  • Hochul’s approval rating is solid (49% approve, 31% disapprove) at this time but one in five (20%) New Yorkers say they are unsure about the job she’s doing. She has a similar approval rating across all three regions of the state: 49% in NYC, 48% in the suburban counties around NYC, and 49% Upstate.

  • When asked to rate the job she’s doing on a different scale, she does less well: among registered voters 39% give her “excellent” or “good” marks and 52% rate her work as “fair” or “poor. 48% of registered voters who rate Hochul as doing a fair job, however, approve of her performance as governor, and 29% disapprove.

  • When Democrats assess the potential primary field in 2022, Hochul tops both hypothetical three-way and four-way contests (see charts below). In both scenarios she beats potential opponents Attorney General Letitia James, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and former Governor Andrew Cuomo by double-digit margins.

  • Among Democrats, Hochul has the highest favorable rating of the four potential Democratic candidates. Hochul, James, and Williams are all more positively than negatively viewed. Andrew Cuomo is the only one of the four whose rating is upside down:  42% of Democrats have a favorable view of the former governor and 53% have an unfavorable one.

New Yorkers are negative on the current direction of the state: 39% say the state is going in the right direction and 54% say it’s going in the wrong oneNote this is the lowest “right direction” number (other than in August of this year when it was 35%) since our poll on October 30, 2010, when just 18% thought the state was going in the right direction  the week before Andrew Cuomo was elected to his first term as Governor.

“Governor Hochul is doing well among New Yorkers in terms of her performance in office and is the frontrunner among Democrats in her primary prospects for the nomination,” says Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Andrew Cuomo needs to substantially redefine voters’ perceptions of him if he wants to run for governor again.”

47% of New Yorkers approve of the job Hochul is doing on the economy and 55% give her thumbs up on her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Half believe she is representing all regions of the state (50%) and a plurality agree she is changing the way things work in Albany for the better (46% – 39%). 

When Democrats are asked about a potential gubernatorial primary, they back Hochul against all comers at this stage – including Andrew Cuomo were he to run again. Nonetheless, a majority of Democrats (58%) view potential candidate Letitia James favorably, and nearly half (47%) view declared candidate Jumaane Williams the same way. Williams is, however, not well known with 42% of Democrats indicating they are unfamiliar with him.

Hypothetical NY Governor Democratic Matchups: 3-Way Race

If next year’s Democratic Primary for governor of New York State were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are/And, how about if the candidate are: [Question wording rotated]

Source: Marist Poll New York State Registered Democrats. Interviews conducted October 4th through October 7th, 2021, n=389 MOE +/- 6.9 percentage points.

Hypothetical NY Governor Democratic Matchups: 4-Way Race

If next year’s Democratic Primary for governor of New York State were held today, whom would you support if the candidates are/And, how about if the candidate are: [Question wording rotated]

Source: Marist Poll New York State Registered Democrats. Interviews conducted October 4th through October 7th, 2021, n=389 MOE +/- 6.9 percentage points.

Medical Aid in Dying 

A majority of New Yorkers (58%) support legislation that would allow physicians to assist terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to end their own lives if they choose. 37% oppose medical aid in dying, and 5% are unsure.

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