Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) departs Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 11,

Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) departs Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 11, Credit: AP / Patrick Semansky

ALBANY — Fifty-nine percent of New York voters said embattled Rep. George Santos should resign from Congress, according to a survey released Monday, which also reported the best job approval ever for Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The Siena College Research Institute poll found that voters who say Santos, a Republican, should resign include 49% of Republicans voters statewide. Just 17% of voters felt Santos shouldn’t resign.

Santos has acknowledged lying about his education, his work history and other things. He said he won't resign from the seat representing the 3rd Congressional District, which covers parts of Nassau County and Queens.

More than half of liberals, conservatives and moderates said they had an unfavorable view of Santos, who began his term this month.

The poll found suburban voters — dominated by those on Long Island — had the harshest view of Santos with 76% giving him an unfavorable rating. Santos also was seen unfavorably by 45% of voters polled in New York City and 53% of those upstate.

Republicans and Democrats shared the same unfavorable view of Santos, with no statistical difference between voters of the two parties. There was also no statistical difference between the high disapproval rate of about 60% among Jewish, Catholic and Protestant voters.

Santos once identified himself on the campaign trail as an “American Jew,” but has since backtracked and said he was raised Catholic but identifies as “Jew-ish.” Subsequent reporting by CNN and Jewish Insider, citing genealogical records, has also cast doubt on Santos’ claims that his grandparents fled to Brazil from Belgium to escape the Holocaust.

The Siena poll also found Hochul had a 56% job approval rating, while 36% of voters disapproved of the job she’s been doing since August 2021. Hochul also had a 48% favorability rating among voters, which is her highest mark yet.

“Hochul sees her job-approval rating hit its highest level, jumping from a positive 5 points last month to a 20-point positive approval rating today,” said pollster Steven Greenberg. “The jump — despite continued strong partisan divide — is largely thanks to independent and downstate voters.”

“While she has yet to have a majority of New Yorkers view her favorably, the 48% of voters this month who view her favorably is the highest it has ever been,” Greenberg said.

The poll found Hochul’s favorability rose since December. Since then, the state’s first woman governor presented her agenda for the 2023 legislative session. Her State of the State speech included a pledge not to raise taxes, to make the state safer from crime, and to make the state more affordable.

Hochul received strong support for her proposal to improve public safety, just a little over two months after she won reelection against Republican Lee Zeldin, who made blaming Hochul for rising crime his top issue.

The poll found 65% of New Yorkers support Hochul’s plan to return more discretion to judge to hold suspects on bail if they are deemed dangerous to the public.

Overall, 78% of Republicans said crime is a “very serious” problem statewide, although 31% said it was a very serious problem in their community. Among Democrats, 55% felt crime was a very serious problem statewide and 30% felt it was very serious in their community.

The poll questioned 821 registered voters from Jan. 15 through Thursday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

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