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Support fading for constitutional convention, new Siena poll shows

ALBANY – Support for the first constitutional convention in New York in 50 years is slipping just a month before voters will consider the proposal in a referendum, a new poll has found.

Just 44 percent of registered voters support Proposal One, which calls for convening a convention of delegates in 2019 to consider making changes to the state’s constitution, according to the Siena College Research Institute poll released Friday morning shows.

Thirty-nine -- 39 percent of respondents say they oppose the proposal,

Support for the convention has been steadily falling since its 69 percent approval rating in the spring of 2016.

Fifty percent of registered voters in the Sept. 25- Oct. 2 Siena poll said they had heard “nothing” about the upcoming Proposal One ballot question.

But when asked  about potential issues that could be topics for a constitutional convention, support among voters soared for imposing term limits on state lawmakers and the governor, shutting down a loophole that permits limited liability companies to get around political contribution limits and adding a constitutional protection against discrimination based on a person’s gender identity, ethnicity and sex.

Voters every 20 years are asked if they want to hold a convention. The last such gathering was in 1967.

Predicting the outcome of the Proposal One is made more difficult by the array of interest groups pushing a low voter turnout and the fact that voters will have to flip the ballot to a second page in order to find the constitutional convention question, said Steve Greenberg, a spokesman for the Siena poll.

Support for the convention question in the new Siena poll was highest among African Americans, Latinos and voters under age 34. It was lowest among Republicans, union members and Catholics.

Support for  Proposal Two – permitting the forfeiture of pensions for government officials convicted of felonies in connection with their public jobs – is still showing overwhelming support. Eighty-one percent of respondents say they back the pension plan.

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