Many New Yorkers Still Don’t Know Who Governor Kathy Hochul Is

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Kathy Hochul became the governor of New York last month after decades in public service that included a term in Congress and six years as lieutenant governor. Still, 41% of registered voters either don’t know who she is or don’t know enough about her to have an opinion, a new poll has found.

That lack of name recognition could pose a challenge for New York’s first female governor, who has pledged to run in the 2022 gubernatorial race. Hochul assumed the role after her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, resigned amid a sexual harassment scandal.

Yet a Siena College poll, released Tuesday, showed that most people who do know her like her. Some 41% of New Yorkers have a favorable view of the new governor, compared to just 17% of respondents view Hochul unfavorablely. Cuomo was rated unfavorably by 55% of respondents, and 67% agreed with his decision to resign.

Many New Yorkers Still Don’t Know Who Governor Kathy Hochul Is

“While still largely unknown to a wide swath of New Yorkers, Governor Hochul begins her tenure with a lot of good will from voters,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Still, Hochul has more name recognition and is viewed more favorably than other possible contenders -- Democrat or Republican. 

Among Republicans candidates Hochul may face next year, just 29% view Andrew Giuliani favorably compared to 42% who don’t. Two other Republicans named in the survey, Representative Lee Zeldin and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, are largely unknown statewide.

And despite Democratic Attorney General Letitia James’s high-profile report on Cuomo’s sexual harassment allegations, which ultimately led to his resignation, 45% of registered voters have never heard of her or said they don’t know enough to have an opinion. Those who do know of her like her, 38% favorable to 18% unfavorable.

Vaccine Mandates

Strong majorities of New Yorkers support vaccine mandates, the poll found. Nearly 70% of registered voters supported a vaccine mandate for public school employees, while 66% said they supported a requirement for gyms, restaurants and other businesses to require customers to show proof of vaccination. 

Though it has become a hot button issue across the U.S. as schools reopen, the idea of school districts requiring students and teachers to wear masks is widely backed in New York, with 78% of all registered voters in favor.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 7-12 among 700 registered voters in the state of New York, and has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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