New York Voters, In Latest Siena Poll, Say Migrant Influx Is A Serious Problem

Photo by Don Pollard, courtesy of the Governor’s Office
On May 22, 2023 in Brooklyn, Gov. Kathy Hochul, pictured left, and New York City Mayor Eric Adams called on the federal government to provide expedited work authorization for asylum seekers. Fifty-two percent of state voters disapprove of the job Gov. Kathy Hochul is doing to address the migrant influx, but there is a much greater disapproval for the Biden Administration on this issue, according to a recent Siena College poll.

More than eight in ten New York state voters say that the recent influx of migrants to New York is a serious problem for the state, with 57 percent calling the situation “very serious,” up slightly from 54 percent in August.

In a new Siena poll released October 24, nearly two-thirds — 64 percent — say New Yorkers have done enough for new migrants and must now work to slow the flow of migrants, compared to 29 percent who say the state should accept and work to assimilate them; it was 58-36 percent in August.

And 58 percent of those polled agree with New York City Mayor Eric Adams that the migrant issue “will destroy New York City.”

“Is New York still ‘true blue?’ True, 49 percent of voters are enrolled as Democrats and only 23 percent as Republicans. True, the last Republican presidential candidate to win here was Ronald Reagan in 1984. But also true is that just last year, a Republican came within seven points of being elected governor. And also true is that right now, Biden has his worst-ever New York favorability and job approval ratings,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “The good news for Biden is the election is more than a year away. The bad news is there’s more bad news.”

While 70 percent of Democrats view Biden favorably, and 70 percent of Democrats approve of the job he’s doing, 52 percent of Democrats say they want a different presidential nominee in 2024, according to Greenberg.

“Biden only leads Trump 46-37 percent, a far cry from the 61-38 percent margin Biden won by in 2020,” he said.

“While other issues in Washington and abroad have largely driven the news cycle over the last few weeks, the influx of migrants to New York remains top of mind for voters, with 84 percent saying it’s a serious – 57 percent very serious – problem for the state,” Greenberg said. “Seldom do we see an issue where at least 79 percent of Democrats, Republicans, independents, men, women, upstaters, downstaters, Blacks, whites, Latinos, Catholics, Jews, and Protestants all agree – that the migrant influx is a serious problem.”

The Siena College Poll was conducted October 15-19, 2023 among 1,225 New York state registered voters. It has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Fifty-two percent of state voters disapprove of the job Gov. Kathy Hochul is doing to address the migrant influx, compared to 37 percent of voters who approve of the job she is doing on that issue. There is a 16-point differential in the percentage of voters who disapprove of the way Adams is handling the migrant issue, and they disapprove of the Biden Administration on this issue by 35 points, including a slight plurality of Democrats, according to Greenberg said.

The poll shows that 19 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independent voters all “strongly disapprove” of  Hochul’s job performance on the migrant influx. On that same question, 45 percent of suburban voters and 40 percent of voters age 35-54 both “strongly” disapprove of the way the governor is handling the migrant issue.

In the same poll, 59 percent of state voters said crime in New York state has gotten worse over the last year.

Only 9 percent of voters think the problem of crime in New York state has gotten better, while 28 percent say it has stayed about the same, and a majority — 59 percent — say it has gotten worse. More than three-quarters of Republicans, nearly two-thirds of independent and a plurality of Democrats say it has gotten worse. In their communities, 10 percent of voters say better, a plurality — 46 percent — say about the same and 42 percent say the crime problem has worsened over the last year.

“In May, 93 percent of voters said crime in the state was a serious problem – 59 percent said very serious – and 65 percent said crime in their community was a serious problem; 26 percent very serious. Today, a strong majority of voters say the problem of crime in the state has only gotten worse over the last year, and more than four in ten say crime in their community has gotten worse over the last year,” Greenberg said.