,

Unite NY in the News: Forbes Coverage of New Voter Empowerment Index

New York Governor Hochul In Democratic Primary Driver’s Seat; Andrew Giuliani And Rep. Lee Zeldin In Tie For GOP Nomination; Voters Want Major Political Reform

Following yesterday’s launch of the Voter Empowerment Index, John Zogby shared his thoughts with Forbes readers.

In a new wide-ranging poll of New York State voters by John Zogby Strategies, results reveal an electorate that is jaded with the current system of New York State politics and is ready for change. In the poll commissioned by Unite NY, more than one-quarter of voters (28%) believe the current 2 party system is broken. Plus, 17% have changed their voter registration from a major party to minor/independent in the past few years. (For methodology, click here.)

The online poll of 1000 likely voters statewide was conducted on January 21-22 and has an overall margin-of-sampling error of +/-3.2 percentage points. Error margins are higher for subgroups.

A plurality (46%) believes the politics in NYS are off on the wrong track, while 37% say it is on the right track. However, one in three (34%) say they are considering or have made plans to leave the state – the most popular reasons including high taxes, the state of New York politics, and mandates/regulations.

On issues of major reform – New Yorkers – across party and region – overwhelmingly rate term limits, ballot initiatives, campaign finance reform, and open primaries with high levels of importance and by and large would be more likely to support a candidate who supported such measures.

In other findings:

Governor Kathy Hochul dominates the Democratic Primary field with 54%, 42-point lead over Jumaane Williams’ 12% level of support. Hochul is widely popular in Upstate (65%), NYC Suburbs (59%), and among voters older than 50 (reaching almost 70%). However, Williams has support from 19% of Black voters and 17% of voters from New York City. Despite a fundraising disadvantage, Williams outpolls third place candidate Congressman Tom Suozzi 12%-9%.

The Republican Primary is a tossup between Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin and former Trump administration official Andrew Giuliani (28% to 26%). Despite Zeldin’s big fundraising and endorsement advantage, Giuliani is more popular in New York City with (31%) and Upstate (30%) – by far in the lead within those two regions. However, Zeldin is by far the popular candidate in NYC Suburbs with 42% to Giuliani’s 21%.

In the two-way horse race for the general election John Zogby Strategies tested – Hochul leads Zeldin 51% to 33%, with 16% undecided. Looking at Independents – 41% select Hochul, 24% choose Zeldin and 35% are not sure. In Upstate and NYC suburbs, the race gets a lot closer with Zeldin ahead 42% – 39% in NYC suburbs, and trailing 39% to Hochul’s 46% Upstate.

With Libertarian candidate Larry Sharpe in a three-way race, Hochul’s overall lead actually increase to a 50% over Zeldin’s 29% and Sharpe’s 6%. As a result, Hochul’s lead grows to 10 points Upstate and is virtually tied in the NYC suburbs.

Other indicators point to the incumbent’s strength, but there are a few lurking shadows. Hochul’s overall approval is 58% (with 40% saying somewhat approve). Still, 34% disapprove – with levels reaching 39% Upstate and 42% in NYC suburbs. Hochul receives 63% approval for her statewide mandates – largely carried by New York City – and with disapproval as high as 40% and 39% Upstate and in NYC’s suburbs, respectively. All things considered, will the recent court ruling by the Nassau County Judge have any effect as Hochul already reversed what was ruled “null and void?”

The top two issues for voters are addressing crime and public safety and lower taxes with 37% and 36% citing. Next, 25% of voters want the economy kept open despite COVID-19.

In the final analysis – while Governor Hochul currently holds an impressive and secure lead – there are some potential vulnerabilities – namely, that despite one-party dominance and record spending on social programs, many New Yorkers have or are considering voting with their feet – and not because of the weather.