New York voters oppose Constitutional Convention by more than 2-1

November 4, 2017

America’s founding fathers would have said “pshaw” to the very idea, if you ask voters in the Empire State: By a wide margin, 57% to 25 %, likely voters say they will vote ‘no’ on New York State’s Constitutional Convention proposal on the November 7 ballot.

By a similar 60% to 29% margin, likely voters say it “will be an expensive waste of time,” rather than a “once- in- a-generation opportunity” to bring the state’s Constitution into the 21st Century,’ according to findings of a Siena College poll released November 1.

The New York State Constitution mandates that every 20 years voters should decide whether to hold a statewide constitutional convention. A vote in favor of the so-called “ConCon” could impact every state resident—opening a virtual Pandora’s Box of legislative changes that could wreak havoc with free public education, pension plans, the right to unionize and much more. Likely also up for discussion would be the legalization of recreational marijuana and term limits for state legislators.

More than one-third of likely voters say they’ve heard or read a great deal about the ConCon and another 27% say they’ve seen or heard something about it, according to findings of the Sienna College poll. Only 19% say they’ve read or heard nothing about ConCon.

There are already two constitutional amendments on the ballot—one related to pension forfeiture for public officers convicted of felonies related to their official duties; another, related to the land bank for the Adirondacks and Catskill Mountains. Both have the support of every region and party.

With a traditionally smaller voter turnout expected for the off-year election, Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg says, “ “The decision of whether or not New York should hold a Constitutional Convention in 2019 will likely be decided by a small minority of New Yorkers – those who both vote in Tuesday’s election, and remember to flip the ballot to the back to vote on ConCon.”

Greenberg notes, “With less than a week till election day, those likely voters are decidedly negative about supporting ConCon. In fact, only one-quarter of likely voters say they’re prepared to vote ‘yes.’ “While a small plurality of likely New York City voters opposes ConCon, strong majorities of downstate suburbanites and upstate voters oppose it. Democrats and independents oppose ConCon by about two-to-one, while Republicans oppose it better than three-to-one.”

In a divided political climate, ConCon unites voters across the ideological spectrum. It is opposed by 55% of moderates, 56% of liberals and 60% of conservatives, the poll has determined. Non-union households oppose ConCon by 23 points and union households oppose it by 50 points.

“The Siena College Poll was conducted October 25 through October 29, among 814 New York State likely voters, by telephone.

Research or Steve Greenberg (518-469-9858)