Kathy Hochul the early favorite in 2022 Democratic primary, Marist poll finds

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Gov. Kathy Hochul has done enough in her first month and a half in office to gain the support of Democratic voters, according to a new Marist poll released Tuesday.

If the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary were held today, 44% of voters surveyed said they would vote for Hochul in a matchup against Attorney General Letitia James (28%) and NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (15%), while 13% were undecided.

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Hochul remained the favorite in a hypothetical four-way race that included former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, though 19% of registered Democrats interviewed between Oct. 4-7 said they would still support Cuomo. The primary matchups carried a margin of error of 6.9 percentage points.

“Gov. Hochul is doing well among New Yorkers in terms of her performance in office and is the frontrunner among Democrats in her primary prospects for the nomination,” said Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Andrew Cuomo needs to substantially redefine voters’ perceptions of him if he wants to run for governor again.”

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Marist called Hochul’s approval rating “solid” at 49%, while 31% disapprove and 20% said they were unsure.

Results of the poll question asking voters whether they have a favorable or an unfavorable impression of Hochul were predictably split down party lines: among Democrats, 70% view her favorably versus 19% unfavorably, but among Republicans, 26% view her favorably and 63% view her unfavorably. 58% of independents view Hochul favorably.

James, the state attorney general whose investigation of Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal most directly led to his resignation, is also viewed positively by Democratic voters: 58% view her favorably, 13% view her unfavorably and 28% are unsure.

Williams polled well with Democratic voters in New York City but garnered little support in other regions of the state. In a three-way matchup between Hochul, James and Williams, Williams was a competitive third-place finisher among NYC voters (35% Hochul, 25% James, 23% Williams, 17% unsure), but when excluding voters from New York City, the results were 53% Hochul, 31% James, 6% Williams and 9% undecided.

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Notably, Cuomo still has some support across the state. In a hypothetical four-way matchup, 20% of those polled in New York City said they would support Cuomo and 18% of those outside NYC gave him their support.

However, 80% of the registered voters surveyed said they did not want Cuomo to run again in 2022, including 74% of Democrats and 93% of Republicans.

Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.

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