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Poll shows Long Island voters will prioritize partisan issues at the ballot box

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A new poll from Newsday and Siena College showed Long Islanders are split on some key issues — and unified on others — ahead of the November gubernatorial election.

Issues covered in the poll included abortion rights, crime, cash bail, student loan forgiveness and housing affordability. 993 registered voters were polled between October 2-6.

75% of respondents said they support abortion rights.

Siena College’s Research Institute Director Dr. Don Levy said voters on both sides of the issue also indicated they would only vote for candidates who shared their belief.

“Two thirds of Democrats say that the candidate they vote for needs to agree with them on the issue of abortion,” Levy said. “Only a quarter of Republicans say that a candidate must agree with them on abortion.”

More than half of respondents said they did not support the recent decision to eliminate cash bail. The change in the law states a defendant arrested for most misdemeanors and non-violent felonies cannot be held on bail.

Levy said Democrats are more likely to support ending cash bail, but a large minority of them do not.

“Crime and the threat of crime clearly resonates with Long Island voters,” Levy said. “You have nearly two thirds, 64%, of all voters, including overwhelming percentages of Republicans and independents, and a meaningful percentage of Democrats who say, 'I don't oppose a law that has been simplified to be expressed as cashless bail.'”

93% of respondents called housing affordability a serious problem, making it the highest ranking concern. Energy costs (91%), crime (90%), and drinking water quality (78%) followed.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin led Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul by 2% in the poll, with only 6% of voters saying they would vote third party or had not made a decision.

Read all of the results here.

Molly is a news fellow, working on the Long Story Short, Higher Ground, and other podcasts at WSHU.