October 20, 1999 - New Yorks City Voters Solidly Back Artistic Freedom, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; Voters Want Other Ways To Replace Mayor Who Leaves
By substantial majorities, New York City voters oppose any attempts to limit art exhibits at museums, even self-imposed limits by museums whether or not they get government funds, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

By a 77 - 19 percent margin, voters support public funding for the arts, the independent Quinnipiac College Poll finds. And by a 58 - 39 percent margin they say a museum which receives public funding should have total control over what art is displayed.

If a publicly-funded museum shows material which is offensive to religious, ethnic or other groups, 34 percent of New York City voters say funding should be cut, while 63 percent say funding should not be cut.

New Yorkers say, 75 - 23 percent that an art museum which does not receive public funds has the right to display art that is offensive to religious, ethnic or other groups.

Voters say 52 - 41 percent that a museum should display art, even if it is offensive.

These questions were asked with no mention of the Brooklyn Museum or Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. When asked about the Brooklyn Museum controversy, the responses are:
  • 59 - 35 percent that the museum should show the exhibit;
  • 27 - 69 percent that government should cut funding to the Brooklyn Museum;
  • 39 - 56 that they would like to visit the Brooklyn Museum to see the exhibit.
"Most New Yorkers don't want to see the controversial exhibit, but whether we ask the question in the abstract or the specific, New Yorkers come down on the side of artistic freedom," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"The show is especially offensive to Catholics. But all Catholic voters, which include Black and Hispanic Catholics, say 60 - 36 percent, that funding to the Brooklyn Museum should not be cut," Carroll added. "White Catholics are closely divided, 52 - 46 percent in favor of cutting funds."

Mayor Giuliani's overall approval rating is split evenly at 46 percent, up from 40 - 51 percent approval in a April 8 Quinnipiac College Poll, and a 46 - 48 percent approval in a June 17 poll. He gets a negative 31 - 64 percent rating for his handling of the Brooklyn Museum controversy. Mayoral Succession

By a 54 - 41 percent margin, New York City voters would like to change the system so a special election is held to replace a mayor who resigns or dies in office, rather than having the Public Advocate succeed the Mayor.

And by a 55 - 37 percent margin, voters say it's a good idea for a mayoral candidate to have a running mate who would step in if the mayor doesn't complete his/her term, similar to the election of the President and Vice President.

"New Yorkers say it makes more sense to elect someone a mayor gets along with to complete an unfinished term, the way the nation picks the President and Vice President as a team," Carroll said.

"No matter how they feel about the incumbent Mayor and Public Advocate, New Yorkers would like to fix the way we handle mayoral succession."

From October 13 - 18, Quinnipiac College surveyed 922 New York City residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.2 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

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rudolph Giuliani is handling his job as Mayor?
                                                     June 17
                      Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Approve 46% 63% 22% 42% 46%

Disapprove 46 31 70 47 48

DK/NA 8 6 9 12 6



17. Under current law, if a Mayor resigns or dies in office, the Public Advocate takes over as Mayor. Which would you prefer: (A) Continuing the current law or (B) Changing the law so that if a Mayor leaves office before the end of the term a special election is held to pick a new Mayor.

                                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind


A) Continuing the current law 41% 36% 45% 36%

B) Changing the law so that if a Mayor leaves office before the end of the term a special election is held to pick a new Mayor 54 62 50 58

DK/NA 5 2 5 6



18. Some have suggested that a candidate for Mayor should have a running mate who would succeed the Mayor the same way that the Vice President succeeds the President. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

                      Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind


Good idea 55% 55% 57% 51%

Bad idea 37 36 36 40

DK/NA 8 9 7 9



6. In general, do you favor or oppose government funding of the arts?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Favor 77% 78% 69% 81%

Oppose 19 17 25 18

DK/NA 4 5 6 1



7. Suppose an art museum receives public funds, which comes closer to your point of view: (A) The government should exercise some control to assure that the art displayed there is not offensive to religious, ethnic,or other groups or (B) The museum should have total control over what art is displayed.

                                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew
A)  The government should exercise
some control to assure that the
art displayed there is not 
offensive to religious, ethnic,
or other groups.                      39%     37%     52%     35%


B) The museum should have total control over what art is displayed. 58 60 45 61

DK/NA 3 3 3 5



8. If an art museum receives public funds, and has an exhibit that is offensive to religious, ethnic, or other groups, do you think the government should or should not withdraw public funds from that museum?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Yes/Should withdraw funds 34% 30% 45% 33%

No/Should not withdraw funds 63 69 51 62

DK/NA 3 - 5 4



9. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? If an art museum does not receive public funds, it has the right to display any art that it chooses, even if that art is offensive to religious, ethnic, or other groups?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Yes/Agree 75% 70% 70% 84%

No/Disagree 23 25 28 16

DK/NA 2 4 2 -



10. If an art exhibit is offensive to religious, ethnic, or other groups, do you think an art museum should display that exhibit or not display it.

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Yes/Display it 52% 52% 43% 53%

No/Not display it 41 42 48 44

DK/NA 7 6 9 3



11. Have you heard or read anything about the controversial exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art which some people have said is offensive? Have you heard a lot, some, or only a little?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


A lot 65% 66% 62% 74%

Some 18 17 19 17

Only a little 11 12 10 7

Haven't heard anything 6 5 9 3

DK/NA - 1 - -



12. (If have heard Q11) Do you think that the Brooklyn Museum of Art should or should not show this exhibit?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew
Should show
 exhibit              59%     64%     42%     59%


Should not show exhibit 35 30 53 38

DK/NA 6 7 5 3



13. (If have heard Q11) The Brooklyn Museum of Art is partially supported by public funds. Do you think the government should or should not withdraw public funds for the Brooklyn Museum of Art because of the museum's decision to show this exhibit?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew
Should withdraw
 funds                27%     25%     36%     31%


Should not withdraw funds 69 70 60 66

DK/NA 4 4 4 3



14. (If have heard Q11) Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mayor Giuliani has handled the situation involving the Brooklyn Museum of Art?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Approve 31% 27% 44% 35%

Disapprove 64 69 49 63

DK/NA 5 5 7 2



15. (If have heard Q11) Would you like to visit the Brooklyn Museum of Art to see this exhibit or not?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Yes 39% 43% 32% 23%

No 56 53 64 72

ALREADY VISITED(VOL) 5 4 4 5

DK/NA 1 - 1 -



16. Have you visited an art museum within the past 12 months?

                      Tot    Prot    Cath     Jew


Yes 63% 55% 61% 72%

No 37 45 39 28

DK/NA - - - -