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New Yorkers overwhelmingly support bail changes ahead of state budget deadline: Poll – The Hamden Journal

New Yorkers overwhelmingly support bail changes ahead of state budget deadline: Poll

An overwhelming majority of New Yorkers appear to want Albany Democrats to overhaul bail reform amid rising crime as the state budget deadline looms, according to poll released Monday morning.

Seventy-two percent of Empire State residents back giving judges more discretion to set bail for those accused of serious crimes, including 76% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 69% of Republicans, according to the Siena College poll.

Changes were supported across every demographic covered by the survey of 802 registered voters, which had a margin of error of 4.6%, including race, sex, religion, religion, and geography.

Almost all New Yorkers – 92% – believe crime is “very serious” or “somewhat serious” of a problem statewide while 65% say the same about their own community.

The 65% of black New Yorkers who favor more judicial discretion were the smallest majority of any group.

“For more than a year, at least 90% of voters have said crime is a serious problem in the state, at least 60% say very serious,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said.

“For more than a year, at least 63% of voters have said crime is a serious problem in their community, at least 27% very serious. And today, 60% say they are concerned they could be a victim of crime, largely unchanged over the last year,” he continued.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has argued bail reform is not to blame for rising crime considering increases nationwide.

Public opinion could lift Gov. Kathy Hochul in budget talks as she pushes an overhaul to bail reform despite the resistance of the relatively left-leaning Democratic supermajorities in the state Senate and Assembly.

A 58% majority also expressed support for her proposed statewide ban on flavored tobacco while 34% opposed the idea.

New Yorkers are more divided on the idea of giving taxpayer-funded health care to undocumented immigrants – an idea pushed in budget talks by progressive lawmakers – with 49% of poll respondents opposing compared to 44% who support it.

But the political winds appear more favorable for state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) – who, along with Hochul, are the “three people in a room” who negotiate the state budget – on other polling fronts.

A whopping 76% favor legislators’ budget plans to increase income taxes on people making more than $5 million per year, which Hochul opposes, while just 19% oppose making rich people pay more.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins speaking at a podium in front of a wooden wall
The state Senate Democratic supermajority led by Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is resisting proposed changes to state bail laws.
Hans Pennink

New Yorkers are evenly divided – 43% to 43% – on Hochul’s controversial proposal to increase a payroll tax on employers while her proposed tuition increases at public colleges appear deeply unpopular, with registered voters opposed 64% to 30%.

Former President Donald Trump bashed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a campaign rally in Waco, Texas on March 25, 2023.
The Siena College poll found ex-President Donald Trump leading Flordia Gov. Ron DeSantis 52% to 27% in a hypothetical 2024 primary match-up.
Photo by SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

Like with crime, New Yorkers have formed a consensus on the dire need to increase affordable housing statewide though they hardly agree how.

“New Yorkers say the issue of affordable housing statewide is equally as serious a problem as is crime. In their community, however, voters – particularly Democrats, independents, downstate suburbanites, and upstaters – say affordable housing is both a more serious, and even a more very serious, problem than crime,” Greenberg said.

“By a narrow 45-37% plurality, voters support mandates on municipalities to increase their housing supplies, including majority support from Democrats and plurality support from independents. By a larger 54-32% margin, voters support providing incentives to municipalities for increasing their housing supply,” Greenberg said.

“When asked which option they support – mandates or incentives – 48% of voters say incentives, compared to only 15% who say mandates, and 15% who say both,” Greenberg said. “Interestingly, providing incentives is the choice of 49% of independents, 47% of Republicans and 46% of Democrats,” he continued.

The poll also measured voters’ attitudes on top pols like Hochul, legislative leaders, President Biden and his possible 2024 opponent ex-President Donald Trump.

  • Hochul has a 43-43% favorability rating, a three-point favorability drop from February.
  • Her 52-41% approval-disapproval rating is down slightly from 56-40% a month ago.
  • Trump leads expected 2024 Republican rival Ron DeSantis, the governor of Flordia, by 52% to 27% among GOP respondents.
  • Just 43% of Democrats want to renominate Biden while 51% want a different candidate.

“A small majority of New York City Democrats think Biden should be renominated, but bigger majorities of upstate and downstate suburban Democrats want another candidate. Men say Biden; women say a different candidate,” Greenberg said. “As to who that other candidate should be, nearly two-thirds don’t have an opinion, with a scattering of support for Pete Buttigieg (5%), Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, all at 3%.”