Term Limits, Citizen Ballot Initiatives, Increased Ballot Access, and Nonpartisan Primaries are Extremely Popular with Voters

Albany, NY – Non-partisan Unite New York unveiled its fourth Voter Empowerment Index (VEI) of 2023, and the data is stark, as one year of polling research definitively proves New York voters want government reform initiatives that to date, New York lawmakers have resisted enacting. At the same time, more than half of New Yorkers think the state is on the wrong track (56%), and nearly four out of every ten say they are thinking of leaving the state (38%).

Given these bleak findings, the data does show that New Yorkers are still eager to find common ground, as almost six in ten are willing to connect with voters of a different party (58%), further proving the point that voters in New York want less partisanship and more effectiveness when it comes to state government.

Unite NY Executive Director Tim Dunn said, “The research Unite NY has conducted this year proves that no matter the time of year or what other events are occurring in the world, New Yorkers consistently feel like they are not getting the reforms they want to make democracy stronger. Voters have told us in a remarkably consistent manner the state is on the wrong track, and they are ready to leave. This is a powerful message we believe lawmakers should take to heart as we head into the 2024 legislative session. Democracy is good, more democracy is better, and voters have noticed.”

The latest VEI, conducted last month, found support for reforms that will give more power to voters remained steady and consistent throughout the year. This includes support for term limits for Governor (80% support), term limits for the State Legislature (76% support), citizen ballot initiatives (71% support), nonpartisan primaries (62% support), and ranked-choice voting (46% support). The complete yearly trend line is below.

The poll also found that 56% of New Yorkers think the state is headed in the wrong direction, 38% say they are considering leaving the state, 41% think New York is behind the curve when it comes to electoral reforms, with only 11% saying New York is ahead of other states when it comes to democracy.

New York’s elected officials suffer from low approval ratings, as 47% disapprove of the job Governor Hochul is doing, and 46% have an unfavorable view of the New York State legislature. The top area of concern for voters continues to be crime and public safety (44%), followed closely by immigration issues (30%). For people aged 18-34, the cost of housing is their number one concern, with 40% worried about rising costs.

The poll, done in October in conjunction with Citizen Data, polled 800 likely New York State voters on their attitudes towards present-day politics and political reforms. The margin of error is 3.5 percent. The entire survey is available on the Unite NY website at: https://uniteny.org/voter-index/

About Unite NY

Unite NY is a 501c(3) non-partisan movement focused on engaging and empowering voters on important issues of reform that will allow for more voices and more choices to strengthen our democracy. The membership organization seeks a more fair, open, and representative democracy that results in the voice of voters being heard by evolving the electoral system so that officials put what more voters want ahead of party interests. Learn more at www.UniteNY.org.