October 23, 2003 - New York City Voters Split On No-Party Primaries, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Some Concern That Plan Favors Rich Candidates
By a 43 - 41 percent margin, a statistical tie, New York City voters say it's a "good idea" to eliminate political party primaries when electing the mayor, City Council members and other city officials, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Republicans say 58 - 30 that no-party primaries are a good idea, while Democrats say 46 - 40 that they are a bad idea and independent voters say 47 - 40 percent that they are a good idea. White voters split 41 - 42 percent; black voters say 45 - 38 percent that no-party elections are a bad idea and Hispanic voters say good idea 53 - 35 percent.

New York City voters disapprove 51 - 39 percent of Mayor Michael Bloomberg spending his own money to help convince voters to support the plan, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

"Voters are split on this referendum question to switch to elections with no party primaries. Complicating the question is guessing how many people actually will show up on election day since there is no marquee political race to be decided," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Mayor Mike has opened his checkbook to push the no-party plan. A bare majority disapprove of that and a similarly slim majority say no-party primaries will benefit rich candidates," Carroll said.

New York City voters feel 51 -37 that eliminating party primaries "gives an advantage to candidates who are personally wealthy."

Voters disagree 48 - 40 percent with the argument that no-party primaries will increase voter participation. They also disagree 49 - 36 percent with the claim that no- party primaries will increase participation by ethnic minorities; white voters disagree 53 - 28 percent and black voters disagree 55 - 34 percent, but Hispanic voters agree 57 - 37 percent.

Two points on which there are stronger majorities:
  • Voters say 55 - 33 percent that the no-party proposal should be delayed because not enough time has been spent studying the issue;
  • 68 percent of voters say political party labels are "very important" or "somewhat important" when electing a mayor, council member or other city official.
"Voters agree with the referendum's opponents: They think there was a rush to judgment," Carroll said.

From October 16 - 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 887 New York City registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and nationwide as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

14. There is a proposal to eliminate party primaries for local office in New York City. Instead there would be a preliminary election to pick two finalists, then a runoff between the top two. Do you think that is a good idea or a bad idea?

                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Good idea 43% 58% 40% 47% 41% 38% 53% 45% 41% 35% Bad idea 41 30 46 40 42 45 35 41 42 49 DK/NA 16 13 15 13 17 17 12 14 17 16



15. As you may know, there will be a public vote in November on a plan to eliminate party primaries in New York City. Do you approve or disapprove of Mayor Bloomberg spending his own money to help pass the plan?

                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Approve 39% 45% 35% 47% 38% 38% 44% 43% 35% 36% Disapprove 51 48 54 47 52 54 43 50 53 53 DK/NA 10 8 11 6 10 8 13 7 12 11



16. Supporters of eliminating party primaries say this would encourage greater participation overall in elections. Do you agree or disagree?
                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Agree 40% 50% 37% 42% 36% 37% 47% 42% 37% 33% Disagree 48 37 52 47 50 51 44 47 49 53 DK/NA 12 13 11 11 13 12 9 11 13 14



17. Supporters of eliminating party primaries say this would encourage greater participation in elections by members of ethnic minorities, such as blacks and Hispanics. Do you agree or disagree?
                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Agree 36% 36% 36% 37% 28% 34% 57% 36% 36% 30% Disagree 49 47 51 51 53 55 37 50 49 53 DK/NA 15 17 13 11 19 11 6 14 15 16



18. Opponents of eliminating party primaries say this would give an advantage to candidates who are personally wealthy. Do you agree or disagree?

                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Agree 51% 46% 54% 51% 54% 53% 40% 54% 49% 54% Disagree 37 42 36 39 32 36 54 36 38 35 DK/NA 12 12 11 10 14 11 6 10 13 11



19. Opponents of eliminating party primaries say that it should not be on the ballot because not enough time was spent studying the issue. Do you agree or disagree?
                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Agree 55% 60% 57% 46% 56% 58% 49% 52% 58% 62% Disagree 33 33 31 40 31 31 44 39 28 30 DK/NA 12 7 12 14 13 11 7 9 14 8



20. When you vote in the general election for a New York City public official, such as Mayor or City Council member, how important is it to you personally to know whether the candidate is a Republican or Democrat or member of another party? Is it very important, somewhat important, not very important or not important at all?
                                                                        Union
                  Tot   Rep   Dem   Ind   Wht   Blk   Hisp  Men   Wom   HsHold


Very important 41% 36% 51% 26% 33% 57% 46% 41% 41% 42% Smwht important 27 33 27 28 33 22 24 26 29 25 Not very imp 15 13 12 25 19 10 14 16 15 18 Not imp at all 15 17 10 20 14 11 15 17 14 14 DK/AN 1 2 1 1 1 1 - 1 1 -