ALBANY, N.Y. — Support for a constitutional convention in New York has dropped significantly in recent weeks and likely voters now oppose the idea by a 2-1 margin, according to a new poll released Wednesday.
The survey from Siena College found that 57 percent of respondents plan to vote no on the question of calling a constitutional convention in next week’s election. Twenty-five percent said they will vote yes.
Sixty percent of respondents said they believe a constitutional convention will be a waste of time.
Voters will decide Tuesday whether the state should hold a convention, where delegates would consider changes to the state’s main political document. Any proposed revisions would have to be approved by voters in a subsequent election.
Earlier polls had shown tepid support for a convention. A Siena poll last month for instance found that 44 percent of respondents supported a convention compared to 39 percent who said they oppose it.
The change follows an aggressive ‘no’ campaign by an unusual collection of opponents: labor unions, Planned Parenthood, anti-abortion groups, gun rights supporters, top Republicans and leading Democrats. They’ve used yard signs and social media to argue that a constitutional convention is too risky and could put the existing constitution’s many protections in jeopardy.
Opposition among voters also appears to transcend ideology or geography, according to Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.
“Upstaters, downstaters and voters from all parties also strongly agree that concon (a constitutional convention) is more likely to be an expensive waste of time where nothing good gets done than it is to be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve the lives and safeguard the rights of New Yorkers,” he said.
Supporters aren’t giving up, however, and on Tuesday announced a new television ad campaign.
“The constitutional convention is the best opportunity for the people of New York to end the corruption and dysfunction that have been hurting us for far too long,” said Bill Samuels, the leader of one of the groups advocating for a convention.
The survey found overwhelming support for another ballot proposal that would authorize a judge to strip the pensions of elected officials.
The Oct. 25-29 telephone poll of 814 likely voters has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.