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Poll: Gov. Kathy Hochul starts with big lead over expanding Democratic field

"As governor, my two top priorities are to

"As governor, my two top priorities are to protect the health of New Yorkers and to protect the health of our economy," Kathy Hochul said Friday. Credit: TNS/Michael M. Santiago

ALBANY — Gov. Kathy Hochul continues to hold a large lead over an expanding field of Democrats running for governor, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

But voters have a negative view of Hochul's job performance since she became governor in August following the resignation of Democrat Andrew M. Cuomo.

The new Siena College poll found 36% of Democrats surveyed said they’d vote for Hochul in a primary, compared with 18% for Attorney General Letitia James, 10% for New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and 6% each for Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The poll was taken not long after James, Williams and Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) joined the race. In Suozzi’s case, he declared his candidacy the day Siena began polling New Yorkers.

De Blasio is weighing a run but hasn’t declared.

Siena noted that Hochul’s lead isn’t just based on better name recognition.

"Hochul continues to have a double-digit lead over her opponents in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and, unlike what is often seen in early polls, it is not completely based on name recognition," Steve Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena poll, said in a statement.

"After all, Hochul and James have very similar favorability ratings among all voters — with nearly identical favorability ratings among Democrats — and de Blasio is the most known — and most disfavored — candidate among all voters and with … Democrats," Greenberg said.

The poll contained warning signs for Hochul.

Of those surveyed, 46% said Hochul was doing a fair or poor job, compared with 42% who said excellent or good.

Also, 44% said New York was on the "wrong track," compared with 43% who answered "right track" — the first time wrong track has scored higher on that question since February 2020.

Among Republican gubernatorial candidates, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is still unknown to most New Yorkers — 63% — as is former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino (69%).

Andrew Giuliani has a more recognizable name but more voters view him negatively — 46% — than favorably (30%).

Siena surveyed 785 voters from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3. The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

For the Democratic voter questions, 399 were surveyed and the poll has a margin of error of 5.4 percentage points.

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