Early Election Year Polling Favors Left in New York & Nationally By Luke Perry
A recent Siena College poll provided some encouraging news for Democrats in upstate New York at the outset of this election year. Governor Cuomo’s favorability is up 10 points from their previous poll last November (52 percent to 62 percent) and his unfavorabilty fell 13 points (43 percent to 30 percent).
This included being viewed favorably in every region, including upstate, which had not been the case since May of last year. While New Yorkers view Cuomo more favorably, they are divided on his job performance, which split within the margin of error.
Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg observed that while this year’s election is a long way away, “Andrew Cuomo enters a re-election year with his best favorability rating since the last re-election campaign, his best job performance rating in eight months, his best re-elect rating in this cycle, and a potpourri of State of the State proposals that are popular with New York voters.”
Cuomo’s increased favorability correlated with increased perceptions of him as liberal. The poll found that a peak number of voters identified him as liberal (41 percent) and an all time low number of voters identified him as moderate (40 percent).
This fits with national polling trends indicating rising favorability for the political left. Generic ballot polls, those that ask whether voters will vote for Democrats or Republicans in Congress, have consistently favored Democrats over the last year. Historically, generic ballot polls have been a “decent predictor of the House popular vote.”
Several prominent GOP members of Congress are retiring, including Orrin Hatch (UT), John Duncan (TN), and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL). In the House, there are currently 389 incumbents on the ballot this year. This falls below the postwar average of 397. These means there are 46 open seats, without an incumbent, 18 of which Sabato’s Crystal Ball just categorized as “competitive.”
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.