A new poll out today from nonpartisan Unite NY shows Governor Hochul’s approval rating dropping from 50% in March to 33% by last month, with two-thirds of independent voters saying the state is on the wrong track. These stunning numbers come from the latest edition of Unite NY’s Voter Empowerment Index (VEI). Support for the state legislature is even lower, at a meager 29%, while voters once again consistently assert politics are so bad in the Empire State, they are considering moving, with a whopping 40% considering packing their bags.
All is not bleak, though as strong majorities voiced their desire to see New York state implement important reforms such as term limits, citizen ballot initiatives, and nonpartisan primaries.
For nearly two years Unite NY has been measuring voter sentiment towards democracy reform via the organization’s Voter Empowerment Index. The latest VEI, conducted just prior to Labor Day, found falling ratings for politicians and steady support for reform. Once again, voters identified crime and public safety (42%) as their most important issues, followed by taxes and state spending (30%) and immigration (25%). For New Yorkers aged 18-34, affordable housing (32%) was their largest concern.
Governor Hochul’s approval rating has fallen steadily this year following her November 2022 election, starting at 50% in March of 2023, falling to 40% in June and dropping to 33% currently. The state legislature’s already low approval rating fell from 36% in March to 29% in this latest poll.
Contrasted with cratering support for elected officials, those surveyed continue to consistently back key reforms that will give more power to voters, including term limits for Governor (75% support), term limits for the State Legislature (75% support), citizen ballot initiatives (71% support), nonpartisan primaries (65% support), and ranked-choice voting (46% support). New Yorkers also recognize New York is behind other states, as only 10% feel that the state is ahead of the curve when it election reforms, while nearly half (47%) believe the state has fallen behind.
Unite NY Executive Director Tim Dunn said, “For two years our Voter Empowerment Index has consistently found that voters support common sense reforms such as term limits and nonpartisan primaries, while approval ratings for elected officials continue to fall. New Yorkers want a government that embraces solutions and not politics and this latest research demonstrates growing voter dissatisfaction with elected officials who do not act on these measures. The good news is the VEI found voters are willing to try and connect with others from across the aisle and we urge lawmakers to embrace reforms that reduce partisanship and increase results.”
Among the VEI’s positive findings, more than half of those surveyed (53%) said they would attend a cross-partisan event to talk about issues with those who have different opinions and more than a third of New Yorkers (36%) think politics are fixable.
The survey, done just before Labor Day in conjunction with Citizen Data, polled 800 likely New York State voters on their attitudes towards present day politics and political reforms. The margin of error is 3.5 percent.
The entire survey is available on the Unite NY website at: https://uniteny.org/voter-index/