Hawkins encouraged by poll: 24% support independent left challenge to Cuomo

Hawkins encouraged by poll: 24% support independent left challenge to Cuomo

“The poll confirms what I heard from voters as I went around the state last week announcing my campaign. Voters are upset with Cuomo's rich man's budget that pays for tax cuts for the very wealthy by underfunding schools, transit, and aid to municipalities that is needed to pay for state mandates and relieve property taxes. They are angry about Cuomo's education agenda of high-stakes testing linked to Common Core and of aiding private charter schools over public schools that now must cut more staff and programs due to funding shortfalls. Environmentalists who want to ban fracking don't trust him. Unemployed and low-wage voters feel Cuomo can't even see them,” said Hawkins.

Green candidate encouraged by poll showing 24% support for independent challenge to Cuomo, but knocks his exclusion from the poll

Howie Hawkins, the Teamster who is running as a Green candidate for Governor, said that he is encouraged by the Siena Poll released today showing that 24 percent of New Yorkers would vote for an independent Working Families Party challenge to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The poll confirms what I heard from voters as I went around the state last week announcing my campaign. Voters are upset with Cuomo's rich man's budget that pays for tax cuts for the very wealthy by underfunding schools, transit, and aid to municipalities that is needed to pay for state mandates and relieve property taxes. They are angry about Cuomo's education agenda of high-stakes testing linked to Common Core and of aiding private charter schools over public schools that now must cut more staff and programs due to funding shortfalls. Environmentalists who want to ban fracking don't trust him. Unemployed and low-wage voters feel Cuomo can't even see them,” said Hawkins.

Hawkins is campaigning for a Green New Deal for New York, including public service jobs for the unemployed, a $15 minimum wage, a ban on fracking, 100 percent clean energy by 2030, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more state revenue sharing for cash-strapped school districts and municipalities.

The poll asked voters to choose between a hypothetical unnamed Working Families Party candidate, Democrat Cuomo, and Republican Rob Astorino. In that match-up, both the Working Families and Republican candidates polled 24 percent and Cuomo polled 38 percent.

“Voters were questioned for this poll April 12-17 as I traveled the state announcing my campaign. That may have had some influence on the results. In any case, I believe a lot of those anti-Cuomo voters will support my campaign,” said Hawkins.

Include Green Candidate in Polling

Hawkins said his candidacy should be included in polling about the race for Governor.

“I received little media coverage in the 2010 gubernatorial campaign – virtually none in New York City – yet we came in third out of seven tickets. We have a political base. It ought to be up to the voters to choose, not politically connected pollsters,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins questioned the bias of the pollster, Steven Greenberg, who is a prominent Democratic Party and corporate consultant. Greenberg served as Press Secretary for two Democratic Assembly Speakers, Mel Miller and Saul Weprin, and as Communications Director for former New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall for nine years. He has also been a campaign manager, communications director, and senior advisor for many local and statewide Democratic political campaigns, including races for Comptroller and Governor. His firm, Greenberg Public Relations, has represented many corporate clients, including the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Citigroup, Healthcare Association of NYS, New York Bankers Association, and the New York Stock Exchange. He appears weekly on Time Warner Cable's Capital Tonight as the Democratic representative on “The Insiders” segment.

Hawkins Ready to Talk to WFP If It Is Ready for Independent Politics

Hawkins has said the Working Families Party should run against Cuomo and, if so, should nominate him. “That would be more consistent with their stated platform than endorsing Cuomo again. If they are now ready to engage in independent working class politics instead trying to reform the corporate-controlled Democrats, we should talk about cross-endorsement,” Hawkins said.

Working Families Party leaders Danny Cantor and Bob Masters met with Cuomo on April 10, the day after Hawkins formally announced his campaign in Albany. The Working Families Party convention is May 31 to June 1 in Albany. The Green Party convention is May 17 in Troy.

Hawkins noted that Green Party is the only party on the independent left – as opposed to parties like the Liberals and Working Families that have usually cross-endorsed major party candidates – that in recent decades has secured its own ballot line by running its own candidate for Governor and winning the 50,000 votes required for a ballot line for the next four years. The Greens did that in 1998 with Al Lewis and 2010 with Howie Hawkins as the candidates. The American Labor Party did it once by running an independent ticket in 1950. Before that one must go back to the Socialist Party, which represented the independent left with a ballot line between 1910 and 1938, when Norman Thomas failed to win 50,000 votes for Governor.

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