New Yorkers welcome demise of the ACHA, prefer to improve Obamacare

The U.S. Capitol Rotunda. Photo by Matt H. Wade.

Support for many of Gov. Cuomo’s policy priorities remains strong

State Senate and Assembly get goods marks from voters

Despite the strong efforts by President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and many House Republicans to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a majority of New Yorkers see last week’s failure to pass the bill as a victory.

By a 56-to-27 percent margin, New Yorkers said they were opposed to the passage of the AHCA.

By an even larger 67-to-30 percent margin, New Yorkers say they favor keeping and improving the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – rather than repealing and replacing it, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released Monday.

Democrats and independents across New York strongly opposed the AHCA and strongly support keeping and improving Obamacare. A majority of Republicans supported the AHCA and more than two-thirds say they want Obamacare repealed and replaced.

“New York voters look a lot like Congress: Democrats strongly opposed the AHCA and overwhelmingly support keeping and improving Obamacare. A majority of Republicans supported the AHCA – with a sizeable minority who opposed it – and strongly support repealing and replacing Obamacare. Independent voters are much closer to the views of Democrats,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Barely half of New York’s Republicans (53 percent) supported the American Health Care Act. The legislation had the support of 42 percent of conservative voters, 37 percent of Catholics and 34 percent of New Yorkers making less than $50,000. But support was much lower for most other demographics across New York state.

“At least 50 percent of voters from every region opposed the AHCA and at least 60 percent from every region say Obamacare should be kept and improved,” Greenberg said. “Half of all New Yorkers both opposed the AHCA and favor keeping and improving Obamacare; only 17 percent both want Obamacare repealed and supported AHCA.”

Only 36 percent of New Yorkers polled say the failed American Health Care Act would have achieved the goals outlined by President trump during the campaign and his first days in office. New Yorkers are much more likely to say they want tom prove the Affordable Care Act, enacted in 2010

“Not surprisingly, voters who want to keep and improve Obamacare overwhelmingly believe it has helped with the ability to access health care and purchase affordable health insurance. They also strongly believe it has helped the cost of health care and the ability to see a doctor of choice. These voters are closely divided on whether Obamacare has helped or hurt the ability to operate a profitable small business,” Greenberg said. “A majority – often a large majority – of voters who want to repeal and replace Obamacare say it has hurt all of those issues.

“By large majorities, voters who supported AHCA said it would likely have improved cost and access to health care and health insurance, and increase the ability to see a doctor of choice and run a profitable small business. AHCA opponents say the opposite; AHCA would not likely have helped these issues,” Greenberg said.

Only 9 percent of New Yorkers polled say they read or heard “nothing at all” about the American health Care Act debate.

“Voters were clearly paying attention to this issue. Nearly two-thirds say they had heard or read a great deal or at least some about the AHCA. New Yorkers’ strong opposition to it may be a contributing factor to Trump’s ratings going down for the third consecutive month,” Greenberg said. “The only groups of New Yorkers that now view Trump favorably are Republicans (73 percent) and conservatives (65 percent).

“With the exception of Catholics (46 percent), Trump is not viewed favorably by more than 38 percent of any demographic group.”

Trump’s favorability rating, falling for the third consecutive month, now stands at a negative 33-to-63 percent, down from a negative 36-to-59 percent in February.

The president’s job performance rating is a negative 26-to-71 percent, down from negative 29-to-68 percent last month.

Meanwhile, closer to home, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a 54-to-40 percent favorability rating, down from 60-to-34 percent in February, and his job performance rating is negative 47-to-52 percent, down from 50-to-48 percent last month.

“Cuomo, who last month enjoyed his best ratings with voters in more than two years, saw his numbers drop some this month. Interestingly, the drop in his favorability rating was more with Democrats than Republicans, although he is still viewed favorably by two-thirds of Democrats and unfavorably by nearly two-thirds of Republicans,” Greenberg said.

Forty-nine percent of voters say New York is headed in the right direction. A majority of liberals (66 percent), suburbanites (55 percent), whites (51 percent), young people (55 percent), Jewish (56 percent), and those in households making more than $100,000 a year (55 percent) say New York is headed in the right direction. All other groups are more pessimistic or do not have an opinion.

“While Cuomo’s favorability rating fell by a net 12 points and his job performance rating fell by a net seven points, there was little movement in his re-elect number,” Greenberg said. “Currently, 48 percent are prepared to re-elect Cuomo next year, while 41 percent would prefer ‘someone else,’ down slightly from 50-to-41 percent last month. Voters do, however, give the governor strong marks for his handling of the major snowstorm two weeks ago, with 63 percent giving him a positive rating and only 28 percent a negative rating.”

As the budget deadline draws near, New York voters are generally supportive of the governor’s key policy proposals, many of which will need to be included in the 2017-2018 spending plan.

“Overwhelming support continues – from every party and from every region – for the governor’s proposal to extend the millionaire’s tax and allow ride sharing services to operate throughout New York,” Greenberg said. “Free SUNY and CUNY tuition is strongly supported by Democrats and New York City voters, supported by independents and downstate suburbanites, narrowly opposed by upstaters, and strongly opposed by Republicans.

“Narrow support – because of strong support from Democrats – continues as well for raising the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 and the New York Dream Act,” Greenberg said. “One budget proposal that voters strongly disagree with the governor is how to make mid-year budget cuts if they need to be made. While his budget seeks authority to do it unilaterally – a proposal dropped from both houses’ one-house budget bills – a whopping 87 percent of voters say mid-year budget cuts should be made by the governor and Legislature together, compared to only 11 percent who support the governor’s position.”

Other findings in the poll show:

  • 46 percent of New Yorkers have a favorable view of the New York State Assembly while 36 percent have an unfavorable view
  • 45 percent of New Yorkers have a favorable view of the New York State Senate while 39 percent have an unfavorable view
  • 28 percent of New Yorkers have a favorable view of State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and 14 percent have an unfavorable view. Fifty-eight percent of voters do not know enough about DiNapoli to form an opinion.
  • 39 percent of New Yorkers have a favorable view of State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman while 19 percent have an unfavorable view of him. Forty-two percent of voters do not know enough about Schneiderman to form an opinion.
  • U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, who has taken on more responsibility as the voice of opposition to the trump Administration, is liked by 60 percent of all voters in New York, including 75 percent of Democrats, 32 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.

This Siena College Poll was conducted March 19 to 23, 2017 by telephone calls conducted in English to 791 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

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