Poll: Majority of likely New York voters oppose constitutional convention

A sign opposing a constitutional convention is seen in Syracuse (Luke Parsnow)

New York voters likely to take part in next week's elections overwhelmingly oppose the referendum to hold a state constitutional convention, a new Siena College poll found.

Likely voters say they will vote "no" on the constitutional convention proposal by a wide margin — 57 percent to 25 percent, according to the poll.

Voters also thought by a 60 percent to 29 percent margin that a convention in 2019 would "be an expensive waste of time rather than a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring our state constitution into the 21st Century."

According to the poll, more than one-third of likely voters say they've heard or read a great deal about a convention and another 27 percent said they've read or heard some about it. Only 19 percent said they haven't read or heard anything about a convention referendum, which is down significantly from the summer.

“If history is any guide, the turnout in next week’s elections figures to be very light. In 2013, fewer than one in three registered New York voters cast their ballots. So, 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,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “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.’"

Greenberg also said that opposition to a constitutional convention is bipartisan. It is opposed by 55 percent of moderates, 56 percent of liberals and 60 percent of conservatives.

READ ALSO: Among Syracuse mayoral candidates, Walsh and Hawkins support NY constitutional convention

New Yorkers vote every 20 years on whether or not to hold a constitutional convention in Albany. The last time a convention was held was in 1967.

While the convention referendum seeks stark opposition, the other two statewide proposals on the ballot see strong support, the poll found. The proposed amendment related to pension forfeiture for public officers convicted of felonies related to their official duties is supported by an 82 percent to 14 percent margin and the amendment related to the land bank for the Adirondacks and Catskills is supported 46-35 percent.

Election Day is Nov. 7.

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