Voters in New York are giving a split verdict to a newly approved measure that will end natural gas hookups in newly constructed homes and buildings in the coming years, a Siena College poll found.
The measure, contained in the $229 billion state budget, will take effect by the start of 2027 but has a sharp partisan divide.
The poll released Monday found 40% of voters approved of the change, which will first affect buildings of seven stories or fewer, with 39% opposed.
Democrats are more likely to believe the measure is good for New York by a margin of 57% to 21%. Most Republicans, however, called the measure bad for the state, 66% to 19%.
And a plurality of independent voters, 49% to 26%, also opposed the change.
The budget included the natural gas transition as New York seeks to move away from fossil fuels in the coming years in order to significantly cut carbon emissions by the mid-point of the century.
Other items in the budget garnered more positive reviews after it was approved more than a month after the April 1 deadline: A plurality of voters, 38% to 26%, believe the budget will be good for the state.
Increasing mental health services funding by $1 billion has the backing of 80% of voters, while the boost to the minimum wage is supported by 64% of New York voters.
The changes to the state's bail that will give judges more discretion in setting bail for serious criminal charges has the approval of a majority of voters, 59% to 20%. A similar majority, 59% to 27%, support funding for abortion providers.
And voters are supportive of increasing efforts to penalize stores that illegally sell cannabis, 58% to 26%, the poll found.
Less popular are efforts to transition to electric buildings. The budget provision that ends natural gas installation in new homes and buildings by 2027 has split voters: 40% in favor, 39% opposed.
The view of Hochul
Most New York voters think Gov. Kathy Hochul works hard. Pluralities believe she is not corrupt and is honest.
And yet the Siena poll released Monday found her favorability rating at her lowest yet since taking office in August 2021: only 40%, with 45% of voters in the state holding an unfavorable view of her.
The poll was released at a challenging time for Hochul, with a migrant crisis flaring beyond the borders of New York City, and suggests she's receiving little bump from the newly completed $229 billion state budget, elements of which are nevertheless popular with voters.
“While voters think that the recently passed budget and many of its specifics will be good for New York, at the same time they also give Hochul her worst-ever favorability rating – the first time it’s been underwater. For months, we’ve noted that Hochul’s favorable rating has never hit 50%; now she’s struggling to keep it in the 40s,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
New York voters are split 40% to 40% over whether Hochul is a strong leader. They are similar split 39% to 39% over whether she is an effective leader. And 49% of voters believe the governor is out of touch with New Yorkers.
Hochul's favorable problem comes down to independents and upstate voters. She is viewed favorably by 57% of her fellow Democrats. But among independents, she's underwater with a 54% unfavorable rating. A full 77% of Republicans in New York view unfavorably.
And among upstate voters, she is viewed unfavorably by a two-to-one margin, the poll found.
President Joe Biden, by contrast, is viewed favorably by a 51% to 45% margin, though a majority of independent voters also hold an unfavorable view of him, 62%.
Hochul is the first governor from western New York in a century and the first woman to hold the job. She was elected to a full term last year.
Half of voters polled approve of the job she's doing as governor, compared to 44% who do not.
There are some silver linings: 58% of voters believe Hochul is a hard worker.
The Siena College poll of 810 registered voters was conducted from May 7-11. It has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points.