41% of NY voters want someone other than Biden, Trump, poll shows

Democrats found reasons for optimism after scoring a special congressional election victory in swing Long Island territory last week, but President Joe Biden continues to show signs of weakness in deep-blue New York, according to a statewide Siena College poll published Tuesday.

Biden, who romped to a 23-point victory over former President Donald Trump in New York in the 2020 election, leads his Republican rival by 12 points in a hypothetical rematch, the Siena survey found. Biden’s approval rating in New York is underwater at 45%, according to the poll.

More voters — 41% — said they would prefer “somebody else” over Biden (28%) and Trump (28%) when given the choice between the two commanders-in-chief and an unnamed third option, the survey found. Siena had not asked voters the question before, said Steven Greenberg, Siena’s pollster.

Overall, only 7% of voters judged both Biden, 81, and Trump, 77, to be mentally and physically fit to serve a full term after November, according to the poll.

Among Democratic voters, more respondents said they would prefer either somebody else (38%) or Donald Trump (13%) to Biden (46%), the survey found.

Siena said it polled 806 registered voters last week.

The poll results were not especially surprising. Biden has been struggling for months in New York, where both Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul have at times blamed the president for the city’s migrant crisis. Biden is still expected to handily win New York in November.

But Biden’s relative weakness in the state continues to point toward possible trouble for Democrats seeking to flip swing House districts in the fall. New York has been seen as especially fertile territory for Democratic congressional pickups.

Last week, Tom Suozzi, a centrist Democrat, flipped expelled former Rep. George Santos’ district in Queens and Long Island, beating Mazi Melesa Pilip by about 8 points in a special election. Suozzi’s approach was seen as a possible roadmap for Democrats seeking to score victories in challenging suburban districts in the fall.

But Suozzi, an experienced former congressman, held Biden at arm’s length. The approach may be harder for Democratic House candidates to pull off in November if Biden is running atop the ticket.

“There are more independents in this state than there are the Republicans, yet Biden’s ahead by 12,” Greenberg said, calling the margin closer than it “should be — than we’ve historically seen.”

He added, “Right now, on a lot of questions, independents in New York are looking a lot more like Republicans than they are in the middle.”

Nationally, Trump has shown a steady but small lead over Biden in recent polls. Biden won the popular vote by almost 5 points in 2020.

Greenberg cautioned that much can change between now and November.

“So many things are going to happen between now and then that will affect how voters feel,” the pollster said.