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POLL: Hochul leads potential Democratic governor candidates by double digits

A "VOTE HERE" sign with an American flag on it

The primary for New York governor isn't until next June, but Siena College is out with a new poll looking at different pairings of Democratic candidates.

Siena presented Democrats with three potential primary match-ups and in each case, Gov. Kathy Hochul led the field, but she still has lots of work ahead.

In one potential five-way match-up, Hochul led with 31% of the vote, followed by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo with 17%, Attorney General Letitia James with 14%, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams with 7% and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio with 6%.

"There’s the elephant – or perhaps the donkey – in the room," said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg, "Will Cuomo run again, trying for electoral redemption? While one out of six Democrats say they would support Cuomo over Hochul, James, et. al., 57% of Democrats say Cuomo should have resigned, compared to 35% who said he should have stayed, and by 2-1, Democrats say Cuomo has sexually harassed multiple women.”

With Cuomo excluded, Hochul got 39%, James 20%, de Blasio 10% and Williams 8%. In a head-to-head match-up, Hochul led James 47-31%.

“Predicting June’s Democratic gubernatorial ballot 36 weeks from Primary Day, four months before a state party
convention with only Hochul declared is not for the faint hearted," said Greenberg. "That said, Siena presented Democrats with three potential primary matchups and in each case, Hochul leads by double digits. But let’s repeat, we are 36 weeks away with an unknown field, and most potential candidates being, like Hochul, largely unknown to a wide swath of voters.”

Greenberg said James leads Hochul with Black Democrats in all three configurations, but Hochul leads with white and Latino Democrats, liberals and moderates.

Interestingly, Hochul and James also have similar favorability ratings among Democrats. The governor is pulling in a 58% favorability rating, while the attorney general is at 54%.

Among the issues "very important" to voters are reducing community crime at 82%, addressing systemic racism at 61% and ensuring COVID-19 vaccinations at 58%. Making sure landlords are reimbursed for lost rent during the eviction moratorium was "very important" to 48% of respondents, while putting a system in place for retail cannabis sales came in at 28%.