People protesting Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza hold their...

People protesting Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza hold their ground near a main gate at Columbia University in Manhattan on April 30 as New York City police officers move to clear the area. Credit: AP/Craig Ruttle

ALBANY — New York voters support a cease fire in Gaza and back related peaceful demonstrations on U.S. college campuses, but favor police breaking them up because many have gone too far, according to a new Siena College survey.

The poll of statewide issues, published Wednesday, also found New York voters favor a proposed Equal Rights Amendment that might be on the ballot this fall, support a crackdown on social media feeds to minors and are split about doubling the deposit on cans and bottles to boost recycling.

The poll surveyed 1,191 registered voters from May 13-15 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points, meaning answers on any question could fluctuate by that much.

Siena sought to take the pulse of New York voters on the ongoing violence in the Middle East and protests in the U.S. It found large agreement on broad issues.

“Voters overwhelmingly agree with each of four statements concerning the recent protests at college campuses across the state and nation — 72% support students peacefully demonstrating, 70% support police being called in when protests went too far, 64% support an immediate cease fire, and 61% are concerned the demonstrations have crossed the line into antisemitism,” said Steven Greenberg, spokesman for the Siena College poll.

He added: “While they differ by degree, a majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents agree with each of the four statements.”

Notably, age rather than party affiliation was the divider on how New Yorkers viewed the issues.

About 74% of those between 18 and 34 years old supported an immediate cease fire, compared with 64% of those 35-54 and 59% of those 55 or older.

When it came to calling in police to end protests, 54% of those 18-34 supported it, compared with 68% of those 35-54 and 79% of those 55 or older.

Albany issues

By a 59% to 26% count, New Yorkers support a proposed Equal Rights Amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution and add gender identity (transgender rights) to a list of anti-discrimination protections.

Notably, if the amendment focused solely on abortion, 64% would favor it while 22% would oppose. The amendment’s status on the ballot is in limbo because of an ongoing lawsuit.

In comparison, it is a dead heat when it comes to increasing deposits on cans and bottles to 10 cents to support recycling: 43% favor, 46% oppose. While Democrats favored it and Republicans opposed, independents strongly opposed it, 51-37.

Also, New Yorkers opposed, 45-36%, the idea of boosting energy bills to help the state transition away from fossil fuels.

One proposed bill in Albany that has strong support is one that would ban social media platforms from providing addictive social media feeds to minors without parental consent.

Overall, New Yorkers support it, 63-20%, with all groups, whether divided by political enrollment, age, geography or income, strongly backing the proposal. Advocates are trying to get state lawmakers to approve it before the 2024 legislative session adjourns, set for June 6.

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