The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
New Yorkers want Lt. Gov. ready to lead immediately
ALBANY, N.Y. » Coming on the heels of Tuesday’s arrest and subsequent resignation of former New York Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin on charges of bribery, fraud, and falsification of records, voters are showing their disgust with a broken political system.
The results of the poll released today demonstrate New Yorkers want officials who are ready to lead, not ready to mount a criminal defense. The poll, conducted by John Zogby Strategies prior to Benjamin surrendering to federal authorities, found more than 86% of respondents identified ‘being prepared to take over on day one as the most important attribute to any candidate for Lt. Gov., outpacing other qualities such as geography, sexual orientation, or race.
The poll found that while New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has a dominant lead in the Democratic primary, in head-to-head matchups with Republicans, she is now at or below 50% support, with some leads as low as 13 percentage points. Depending on the matchup, 15% to 25% of voters are undecided.
On the Republican side, the four-way race is wide open, with former Trump Administration official Andrew Giuliani (29.1%) holding a slim lead over endorsed candidate Lee Zeldin (27.8%). That close race at the top is followed by 2018 candidates Rob Astorino (15.2%) and Harry Wilson (10.5%). While Giuliani and Zeldin have lost a small share of the vote since last month, Astorino has shown a slight increase, while Wilson has doubled his support from a month ago.
With more than 17% of Republican voters still undecided, much could change in the primary.
The poll found Hochul’s approval/disapproval rating at 5637.5%, with more than half of voters (51.6%) saying partisan politics has gotten worse in the State in the last 2 years, and a similar number of voters (50.4%) saying New York is on the wrong track. Other major findings on index issues included:
• Nearly one-third of respondents said the State was on the wrong track because parties and politicians put their interests above those of the voters (29.1%) and that real problems are not being addressed (29.2%).
• Similar to last month’s findings, nearly four out of 10 New Yorkers (39%) are considering leaving the State, with more than a quarter saying they plan to do so in the next three years.
In addition to the candidate horserace and index issues, voters continued to place a high priority on issues of reform, voicing support for term limits, open primaries, expanding voter access, initiative & referendum, Ranked Choice Voting, and election integrity. Specifically:
• More than half of voters would be more likely to support a candidate that advocated for Open Primaries (54.3%), Ranked Choice Voting, (54.6%) no-excuse absentee/vote at home (55.6%), and voter initiatives (58.3%).
• More than two-thirds would like to see ID requirements for voting (68.7%) to ensure more fair elections.
Unite NY Founder Martin Babinec said, “Unite NY’S Voter Empowerment Index has consistently found that voters not only want political reform, but they are more likely to support candidates who make it part of their campaign platforms. Our latest edition, completed just a few days ago, reaffirms this and with the arrest of the second-highest elected official in New York, we need candidates who not only will fight to fix a broken system but will make sure their ticket doesn’t include someone recently in handcuffs.”
John Zogby, founder and senior partner, Zogby Strategies added, “If the GOP can unite, they can make this a competitive race. I have made my living for four decades by asking questions. Here is a good one; can the GOP in New York unite?”