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Siena poll finds Gov. Kathy Hochul's rating at a historic low point

Gov. Kathy Hochul announces a tenative agreement on the state budget on April 15, 2024.
Mike Groll
Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul announces a tenative agreement on the state budget on April 15, 2024.

Just as Gov. Kathy Hochul is declaring victory in getting her agenda approved in the state budget, a new Siena College poll finds that she’s experiencing her worst-ever favorability and job approval ratings.

Hochul, who has never scored above a 50% approval rating since she’s been governor, now has scored her lowest favorability rating since Siena College began tracking her in 2021. Only 40% of respondents view her positively, and 49% view her negatively.

Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said the governor’s job approval ratings, which were always higher than her individual popularity, are also declining.

“Right now, only 45% of New Yorkers approve of the job Hochul is doing as governor, (while) 49% disapprove,” Greenberg said. “It's the first time more voters have disapproved of the job that she's doing than approve since she's been governor.”

Answers from registered Democrats and Republicans were predictable, with the vast majority of Democrats saying Hochul was doing a good job, and most Republicans saying they disapprove of the governor and her job performance.

The poll found that independents, who are a growing part of the electorate, dislike the governor by a two-to-one margin.

The survey was conducted a few days ago, when the governor and the State Legislature were in the throes of budget negotiations, and new outlets were reporting on another late state budget.

Hochul is claiming several victories in the new spending plan, which was approved over the weekend, including an affordable housing package and a crackdown on retail theft.

Greenberg said if Hochul publicizes those accomplishments, she could turn her numbers around.

“I assume that the governor is going to go on a mini-tour over the next few weeks trying to sell the items that were in her in this budget, “ Greenberg said. “We'll see if that has any resonance with voters.”

He said the public is unhappy with the handling of the migrant crisis and concerned about crime, and that could be driving down the governor’s numbers.

“Voters are not happy right now,” Greenberg said. “They are cranky.”

Hochul is not the only incumbent politician faring poorly in the polls. New York City Mayor Eric Adams and President Joe Biden have also declined in the public’s estimation.

Biden’s approval rating is 45%, and the Democrat currently has a 10-digit lead against former President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the 2024 presidential race. But Biden won blue New York by 20 percentage points over Trump during the 2020 election.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for the New York Public News Network, composed of a dozen newsrooms across the state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.