Brooklyn News Review

Hochul’s Approval Tanks to 40%, New Yorkers Disenchanted with Current Gov’t

By: Hal C. Clarke

A recent poll conducted in New York reveals that over 50% of registered voters in the state believe that the current direction of the state is unfavorable. An astonishing 80% of these respondents are expressing their desire for term limits to be implemented for both the governor and legislators. This data comes from an independent study called Unite NY’s Voter Empowerment Index, which was made public on Sunday.

The approval rating for Governor Kathy Hochul has taken a significant hit, dropping to 40% from her previous rating of 50% just three months ago. The approval rating for other state lawmakers is even lower at 27%, down from a recent rating of 36%.

Overall, more than half (53%) of the state’s voters are dissatisfied with the current political trajectory, and a substantial 40% are contemplating leaving the state. Notably, the vast majority (80%) of respondents are in favor of establishing term limits for both the governor and the legislative body, which currently do not have any in place.

Unite NY’s Executive Director, Tim Dunn, emphasized that independent and unaffiliated voters, the second-largest voter group in the state, are frustrated with the state of democracy in New York. He stressed that winning back these voters would require enacting reforms that have strong bipartisan support, as this group is growing both in numbers and dissatisfaction.

The poll also found that a majority of upstate New Yorkers strongly desire an open primary process that allows non-party-affiliated residents to participate. Only a small 10% of those surveyed believed that the state was effectively implementing election reforms compared to other states.

Respondents identified crime and public safety as the most critical concerns for New Yorkers. Lawmakers in Albany have faced criticism since the passage of bail reform measures in 2019, which some blame for an increase in crime. Despite some adjustments to the bail reform measures, many citizens remain unconvinced.

Despite the generally negative outlook in the Unite NY poll, there is a silver lining as the percentage of voters considering leaving the state has decreased by 51% since a previous poll in March. The Bronx stands out with 71% of its residents expressing a desire to leave New York.

However, there are some signs of optimism. Over 35% of the surveyed voters believe that the challenges facing the Empire State can be resolved, and 54% are open to engaging in discussions with individuals who hold differing viewpoints.

Unite NY, a group founded by upstate former Congressional candidate Martin Babinec, advocates for election reform and open elections. The organization prioritizes focusing on issues rather than specific candidates for public office.

Meanwhile major firms in the financial sector are fleeing NYC.

Since the end of 2019, almost 160 Wall Street firms have relocated their headquarters from New York City, resulting in an outflow of nearly $1 trillion in assets under management, according to data compiled from 17,000 companies by Bloomberg.

Of the departing firms, 56 have chosen Florida as their new base, with others opting for warmer states like Texas and the Carolinas. The relocation trend extends beyond New York, affecting California as well, which has lost $1 trillion in financial assets to lower-cost states.

This massive migration poses a significant economic challenge. Wall Street contributed 16% of the city’s economic activity and 7.3% of the state’s economic activity last year.

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