Nine in 10 New Yorkers believe crime is a serious problem statewide, a new Siena College poll shows.
“Voters see crime in their community as a serious problem, although more than one-third say it’s not very or not at all serious,” says Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “However, a majority of every demographic group says crime in their community is a somewhat or very serious problem, with the exception of downstate suburbanites, ‘only 45%’ of whom say it is.”
Overall, 57 percent are very or somewhat concerned about being a victim of crime. Roughly half of Upstate New York voters, downstate suburbanites and whites are concerned that they will be a victim. Two-thirds of Black and Latino voters are concerned. Respondents, by a 65 percent to 27 percent margin, would like the 2019 bail reform law amended to give judges more discretion in keeping dangerous criminals off the streets.
“Voters of color and young voters are more closely divided,” Greenberg says. “Young voters favor amending the law by 12 points, Latinos by seven points and Black voters by four points.”
On the school mask mandate front, 58 percent would like to wait for early March data before the decision to lift the rule. Thirty percent say the mandate should have ended already, and 10 percent want to see it end after this week’s school break.
“Waiting to see data from early March before deciding to lift the school mask mandate—as opposed to lifting that mandate as schools reconvene next week or wishing it had been lifted previously—is how the majority of New Yorkers would like to proceed,” Greenberg says. “The majority of virtually every demographic group agrees, though not Republicans and conservatives, who wish the mandate had ended already.
“While nearly two-thirds of voters without children at home support waiting for March data to decide on the school mask mandate, state and school officials face a ‘lose/lose’ proposition with their constituents most closely affected by this decision—regardless of the decision—since voters with children under 18 in their household are closely divided between waiting for data to decide and masks should have been off already.”
A big worry on voters’ minds: inflation. In December, respondents said inflation was having a serious negative effect on both the economy and their personal finances. In the recent poll, more than nine in ten voters say inflation is having at least a somewhat serious negative effect on the economy, and 63 percent say very serious, up from 49 percent very serious in December.
Like crime, inflation is a key issue as the midterm elections draw closer, Greenberg says. In New York’s gubernatorial race, Gov. Kathy Hochul is favored by the Democrats. The official designee of the party, Hochul has the support of 46 percent of Dems compared with 17 percent for New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and nine percent for Rep. Tom Suozzi. More than a quarter of Democrats remain undecided.