April 20, 2000 - New Yorkers Like New School Boss Almost 4 - 1, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; Back Teacher Merit Pay, But Not Based On Test Scores
While many New Yorkers don't know much about interim Schools Chancellor Harold Levy, those who do know him approve of the job he is doing by almost 4 -1, according to a Quinnipiac College poll released today.

Voters approve of Levy 47 - 13 percent, with 41 percent undecided.

By a 45 - 14 percent margin, with 41 percent undecided, voters want Levy to get the Chancellor's job on a permanent basis, the independent Quinnipiac College poll finds.

"In January, New Yorkers were asking, `Harold Who?' Now, a respectable number of voters are ready to give him the job as Schools Chancellor," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute. "There's still a big undecided, but very little opposition.

"While Levy is off to a good start, satisfaction with public schools remains low."

Only 37 percent of New Yorkers are satisfied with public schools in their neighborhood, while 45 percent are not satisfied.

But 49 percent of voters approve of the job teachers are doing in their local schools, while 27 percent are dissatisfied.

By a 70 - 24 percent margin, voters support the idea of merit pay for "teachers who do an outstanding job."

But 67 percent say it's a "bad idea" to base merit pay for teachers on student test scores.

"New Yorkers give very thoughtful responses on teacher merit pay: They favor extra bucks for teachers almost 3 - 1, but they don't want merit pay pegged to student test scores," Carroll said.

A total of 33 percent of voters "agree strongly" or "agree somewhat" with the idea that rewarding teachers for better student test scores would improve teaching, while 64 percent "disagree somewhat" or "disagree strongly."

New Yorkers are almost evenly divided on whether merit pay based on student test scores would discourage teachers from working with students who get low grades.

Asked to list the most important problem facing New York today, with any answer allowed, a total of 25 percent of voters say "police," or "police brutality" or "police racism." Prior to the February, 1999, shooting of Amadou Diallo, these answers never appeared on a "most important problem" list. Next on the list are crime/violence and education, with 14 percent each, and racism/race relations with 12 percent.

By a 65 - 28 percent margin, New Yorkers approve of the job police are doing in their community. Police Commissioner Howard Safir gets a negative 32 - 58 percent approval.

New York has become a safer place to live, according to 60 percent of voters, while 9 percent say it is less safe and 29 percent say it has stayed about the same.

A total of 93 percent of those who say the City is safer say most or some of this improvement is due to the policies of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Race continues to divide New Yorkers' attitudes about police:
  • 67 percent of white voters say police in their community use "appropriate" force when dealing with a minority member in a possible criminal situation;
  • 59 percent of black voters and 44 percent of Hispanic voters say police use "excessive" force;
From April 12 - 17, Quinnipiac College surveyed 816 New York City registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 287-5201

3. What do you think is the most important problem facing New York City today?
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Crime/Violence 14% 14% 10% 18% Drugs 2 2 3 5 Police (general) 11 8 13 15 Police Brutality/Racism 14 7 31 12 Racism/Race Relations 12 11 15 9 Economy 1 2 1 - Unemployment/Jobs 2 2 1 - Taxes 1 1 - 1 Poverty/Homelessness 5 6 1 6 Housing Costs/ Availability 2 3 1 1 Overcrowding 1 1 - 1 Welfare 1 1 - 1 Class Inequality 1 1 - - Immigration 1 1 - - Healthcare/Costs/ Insurance/HMO's 1 1 - 1 Education 14 17 9 12 Poor Mass Transit/ Public Trans/Subways 1 2 - 1 Traffic 1 1 - 2 Politicians/Government 1 - 1 2 Mayor/Governor 3 2 5 - Other 7 8 2 7 DK/NA 3 5 - -



18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Harold Levy is handling his job as acting New York City Schools Chancellor?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Approve 47% 47% 54% 41%

Disapprove 13 8 14 22

DK/NA 41 45 32 37



19. Do you favor or oppose Harold Levy becoming the permanent New York City Schools Chancellor?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Favor 45% 45% 51% 41%

Oppose 14 9 16 26

DK/NA 41 45 33 32



20. Are you generally satisfied with the quality of the public schools in New York City, or are you not satisfied?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Satisfied 12% 11% 12% 10%

Not satisfied 79 76 83 85

DK/NA 9 13 5 5



21. Compared to 5 years ago, do you feel that the quality of the public schools in New York City have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Gotten better 15% 15% 16% 17%

Gotten worse 40 35 47 43

Stayed the same 34 36 32 37

DK/NA 11 15 6 3



22. How much of this change is due to the policies of Rudolph Giuliani - most of it, some, or none?

                           Better   Worse


Most 21% 35%

Some 44 39

None 33 23

DK/NA 2 3



23. Are you generally satisfied with the quality of the public schools in your neighborhood, or are you not satisfied?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Satisfied 37% 42% 28% 34%

Not satisfied 45 35 59 59

DK/NA 18 22 13 6



24. Do you approve or disapprove of the job teachers are doing in the public schools in your neighborhood?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Approve 49% 53% 46% 47%

Disapprove 27 17 37 38

DK/NA 24 30 16 15



25. Some people say that public school teachers who do an outstanding job should be rewarded with additional pay - so called merit pay. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Good idea 70% 66% 77% 74%

Bad idea 24 27 18 22

DK/NA 6 7 5 4



26. Some people say that additional pay should be awarded to individual teachers based on their students' test scores. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Good idea 27% 23% 28% 37%

Bad idea 67 71 65 62

DK/NA 6 7 7 1



27. Rewarding individual teachers with additional pay based on their students' test scores will improve the quality of teaching. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Agree strongly 14% 12% 14% 22%

Agree smwht 19 16 19 28

Disagree smwht 29 31 28 25

Disagree strongly 35 37 36 24

DK/NA 3 3 3 1



28. Rewarding individual teachers with additional pay based on their students' test scores will discourage teachers from working with students who get low grades. Do you agree or disagree with that statement? Do you agree/disagree strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Agree strongly 27% 26% 31% 30%

Agree smwht 22 25 15 25

Disagree smwht 25 24 26 30

Disagree strongly 20 18 24 13

DK/NA 5 6 3 2



29. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Howard Safir is handling his job as Police Commissioner?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Approve 32% 47% 6% 30%

Disapprove 58 43 88 59

DK/NA 10 10 6 11



30. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the New York City police are doing their job?
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Approve 43% 60% 17% 33%

Disapprove 48 31 75 61

DK/NA 9 9 8 6



31. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the police in your community are doing their job?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Approve 65% 80% 44% 51%

Disapprove 28 14 50 41

DK/NA 6 7 6 8



32. How would you rate the job the New York City police have done in reducing crime? Excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Excellent 23% 35% 7% 13%

Good 39 42 36 34

Only fair 28 20 37 38

Poor 9 2 19 15

DK/NA 1 1 1 -



33. Compared to 5 years ago, do you feel that New York City has become a safer place to live, a less safe place to live, or stayed about the same?
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Safer 60% 75% 38% 48%

Less safe 9 3 16 12

Stayed about the same 29 20 43 40

DK/NA 2 1 3 -



34. How much of this change is due to the policies of Rudolph Giuliani - most of it, some, or none?

                           Safer   Less safe


Most 48% 60%

Some 45 28

None 5 10

DK/NA 1 1



35. Do you generally think of the police more as friends, more as enemies, or don't you think of them in either of these ways?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Friends 32% 43% 13% 32%

Enemies 10 4 21 7

Neither 56 51 64 58

DK/NA 2 2 2 3



36. Do you think the police in New York City are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Tougher on whites 1% - - 2%

Tougher on blacks 68 58 86 75

Treat them the same 25 33 9 18

DK/NA 7 8 4 4



37. Do you think the police in your community are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Tougher on whites 1% 1% - 1%

Tougher on blacks 45 32 65 52

Treat them the same 42 53 25 38

DK/NA 12 13 10 9



38. When faced with a possible criminal situation, do you think police in New York City generally use excessive force against minority suspects, or generally use the appropriate amount of force?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Excessive force 56% 36% 85% 72%

Appropriate force 35 52 10 23

DK/NA 8 12 5 4



39. When faced with a possible criminal situation, do you think police in your own community generally use excessive force against minority suspects, or generally use the appropriate amount of force?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Excessive force 34% 17% 59% 44%

Appropriate force 53 67 32 47

DK/NA 14 17 9 9



40. Some people have said that public criticism of the police will result in the police being more cautious and less effective in fighting crime. Do you agree or disagree?

                          Tot     Wht     Blk     Hisp


Agree 47% 54% 38% 48%

Disagree 49 43 59 49

DK/NA 3 3 3 3