New York Voters Are Generally Supportive of Kathy Hochul’s Early Job Performance

The woman who became governor following Andrew Cuomo’s resignation has improved her standing among Democrats as more voters have learned who she is
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul attends the annual Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan on Oct. 11. New polling shows Hochul is generally popular in New York, with 50 percent of all voters and 74 percent of Democrats approving of her job performance. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
November 08, 2021 at 2:59 pm UTC

More than two months after replacing disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democrat Kathy Hochul is fairly popular among voters in the Empire State, according to new Morning Consult Political Intelligence tracking. But as she faces a competitive primary next year, Hochul has work to do to cement her standing with the party’s base, even if New York Democrats like what they see so far.

After More Than 2 Months in Office, Hochul Has Backing From Half of New York Voters

New York voters were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the job performance of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.)
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Data points reflect 10-day moving averages of at least 3,540 registered voters in New York, with margins of error of +/-2%.

The latest numbers

  • According to the Oct. 29-Nov. 7 polling, 50 percent of New York voters approve of Hochul’s job performance, up 6 percentage points from responses gathered during her first 10 days in office.
  • Hochul’s approval rating among New York voters is just below that of President Joe Biden (54 percent) and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (52 percent), and just above Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (47 percent).
  • Three in 10 New York voters (29 percent) disapprove of how Hochul has handled her job, up 14 points over the course of about 11 weeks, as voters who developed opinions about her tended to view her negatively.
  • The increasing disapproval has been driven by independents, who are now split about evenly on Hochul’s job performance (34 percent approve versus 35 percent disapprove), and Republicans, who are 31 points more likely to disapprove than approve of her (58 percent compared with 27 percent).

The context

Hochul’s standing in New York is almost the inverse of how the state’s voters viewed Cuomo before he left office in disgrace amid two scandals involving allegations of sexual misconduct and an underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes.

But while New Yorkers are more likely than not to give her good marks, this hasn’t stopped her from facing challenges in her own party, with New York Attorney General Letitia James already launching a 2022 gubernatorial bid and others still waiting in the wings. The impending contest raises the stakes of her standing among Democrats.

1 in 3 New York Democrats ‘Strongly’ Approves of Hochul

Democratic voters in New York were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the job performance of the following:
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Poll conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 7, 2021, among 1,821 registered Democratic voters in New York, with a margin of error of +/-2%.

The Democratic dynamics

  • Three in 4 Democrats (74 percent) approve of Hochul’s job performance, while just 9 percent disapprove. One-third of Democrats “strongly approve” of her job performance, putting her on solid ground but leaving some opportunity for a challenger.
  • Hochul has secured the endorsement of EMILY’s List, an influential liberal group that helps elect Democratic women who support abortion rights, but her intraparty standing is strongest among Democratic men: 81 percent of male Democrats in New York approve of her job performance, compared with 68 percent of female Democrats.
  • Schumer, who is up for re-election next year and has been keeping an eye on his left flank, has a 78 percent approval rating among Democratic voters, including 39 percent who strongly approve.

The latest survey was conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 7, 2021, among 3,968 registered voters in New York, including 1,821 Democrats, with a 2-point margin of error for both samples.

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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