October 09, 2017

New Siena Poll – Constitutional Convention Losing Ground

By a narrow 44-39 percent margin, registered voters say they will vote ‘yes’ to support a Constitutional Convention on election day next month, down from 45-33 percent in September. While 44 percent say it’s a “once in a generation opportunity to bring our State Constitution into the 21st Century,” 45 percent say it “will be an expensive waste of time,” according to a new Siena College Poll of New York State registered voters released today. Seven of nine potential issues tested that could be discussed at a Constitutional Convention enjoy overwhelming public support.
“As half of New Yorkers continue to have heard or read nothing about the upcoming ConCon vote – down from two-thirds in July – support for ConCon continues to wane. A plurality of Democrats and a bare majority of independents say they will vote yes, however, a majority of Republicans say they’re voting no. Support is greatest among young, lower income, black, and Latino voters,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.
“Similarly, a plurality of Democrats and a bare majority of independents see a ConCon as a once in a generation opportunity to improve the lives and safeguard the rights of New Yorkers, while a majority of Republicans say nothing good will get done at a ConCon,” Greenberg said. “Not surprisingly, voters from union households are much more negative towards ConCon than those voters from non-union households.”

“While New Yorkers may be divided on whether to ConCon or not, on several issues that might be the topic of discussion at a convention there is widespread, bipartisan support,” Greenberg said. “Four issues – term limits for both state legislators and statewide office holders, establishing an initiative process to allow New Yorkers to vote directly on proposed laws, and adding constitutional protections based on gender identity, sex and ethnicity – are supported by more than three quarters of voters.

“At least two-thirds also support making the Legislature full-time, while also banning outside income, closing the LLC loophole, and prohibiting unreasonable laws to restrict women’s reproductive rights,” Greenberg said. “By smaller margins, voters oppose revising state policies to allow increased development in the Adirondacks and limiting collective bargaining rights of public employees.

“Of course, regardless of whether there’s a ConCon or not, the Legislature could send any of these issues to the voters for their approval as proposed constitutional amendments,” Greenberg said.

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