ALBANY – To be determined.
That’s how 41% of voters responded to a poll released Tuesday on their opinion of new Gov. Kathy Hochul, who succeeded Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 24 when he resigned in scandal.
Nonetheless, the early reviews were positive for Hochul, the state’s first woman governor and former lieutenant governor: She was viewed favorably by 42% of voters and unfavorably by 17%, the Siena College poll found.
“While still largely unknown to a wide swath of New Yorkers, Governor Hochul begins her tenure with a lot of good will from voters,” Siena College spokesman Steve Greenberg said in a statement.
“Among those with an opinion about her, she is viewed strongly favorably, although two in five New Yorkers don’t yet have an opinion, despite Hochul having been Lt. Governor for six years and elected statewide twice.”
Hochul has sought to calm the state and work with its leaders after the tumultuous final months of Cuomo’s 11-year tenure, which ended with his resignation amid allegations that he sexually harassed some female aides.
Voters recognized Hochul’s approach: by a 52%-18% margin, they said Hochul has been more collaborative than Cuomo.
And 74% of voters said they were pleased to have New York’s first woman governor. Hochul said she will seek a full four-year term next year.
As for Cuomo, he left office with his worst-ever favorability rating from voters at 34% positive and 55% negative, Siena said.
Voters said Cuomo should have resigned rather than remain in office: 67% to 26% — including Democrats at 55% to 35%.
“Additionally, by a wide 56% to 20% margin, voters say Cuomo did sexually harass multiple women that worked for the state, including a majority or plurality of voters from every party and region,” Greenberg said.
In one of her first acts as governor, Hochul required masks in schools and since has required health-care workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Voters, the poll showed, supported strong COVID prevention measures.
By a 69% to 26% margin, New Yorkers backed requiring teachers and staff to be vaccinated — which the state has yet to order, but has been encouraged by Hochul and President Joe Biden.
And school districts requiring teachers, staff and students to wear masks was supported 78% to 18%.
The Siena College poll was conducted Sept. 7-12 among 700 New York registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.
More:Will NY’s COVID vaccine mandate for health workers trigger staff shortages? What to know
More:How Kathy Hochul is trying to win over New York and turn the page from Andrew Cuomo
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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