New York Gov. Kathy Hochul would be the runaway favorite to win a Democratic primary if it were held today, a Siena College poll released Tuesday morning found.
Hochul, who took office Aug. 24, easily outpaces her rivals Rep. Tom Suozzi and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, as well as former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, the poll found.
De Blasio announced subsequently on Tuesday morning he would not run for governor.
Hochul draws support from 46% of Democrats polled. The former mayor draws 12%, while Willams holds support from 11% of Democratic voters. Suozzi, a Long Island congressman, received 6%.
Hochul is the choice of 40% of New York City Democratic voters as well as 40% of downstate suburban voters — two key areas of the state any candidate running statewide needs in order to win.
The poll comes after state Attorney General Letitia James, the Democrat seen as Hochul's most competitive rival for the nomination, withdrew her bid in December and opted instead to run for a second term next year. Hochul had quickly moved to lock down support from party donors as well as Democratic leaders in the state as she moved to run for a full term this year.
Hochul holds a positive 45% to 29% favorable rating with New York voters overall, according to the poll, including 60% of Democrats. The first governor from Buffalo in a century, Hochul also holds a 52% favorable rating from voters in New York City, where she was less well known prior to taking office.
"With 22 weeks until the primary, it appears Hochul is in the catbird seat to be the Democratic nominee for governor,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Hochul approaches support from nearly half of Democrats, 46%, up from 36% last month – before James, who had the support of 18%, exited the race. DeBlasio appears to have picked up some James supporters as well, now at 12%, up from 6% in December."
Voters, however, are split over whether the state is heading in the right direction: 43% say it is not; 41% believe it is.
Only 38% of voters in New York believe President Joe Biden is doing a good or excellent job and 60% say he is not. He retains a 52% to 42% favorable rating and remains popular with 76% of Democrats.
Hochul is set to deliver her first budget presentation later on Tuesday. The poll found voters back her proposal to allow restaurants to sell to-go beverages 55% to 34%. Voters also support her proposal to expand programs in prisons so that incarcerated people can get jobs once they leave, 79% to 14%.
And voters 77% to 14% support term limits for all statewide elected officials as proposed by the governor through a constitutional amendment.
The poll of 806 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 9-13. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points overall and a 5.4 percentage point margin of error for Democratic voter-only responses.
The poll's crosstabs can be found here.