January 15, 2009 - Opposition To New York Fat Tax Gets Fatter, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Statewide Opposition To East River Tolls Is Narrow

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Despite Gov. David Paterson's focus on childhood obesity during his State of the State message, New York State voters oppose the so-called 'Fat Tax' on non-diet soft drinks 64 - 32 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Even those who prefer diet soft drinks oppose the measure 62 - 35 percent.

Overall opposition compares to a 60 - 37 percent opposition in a December 24, 2008, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll.

In this latest survey, people who prefer non-diet or regular soft drinks oppose the 'Fat Tax' 72 - 26 percent. Voters with a college degree oppose it 57 - 40 percent, while voters with no degree oppose it 68 - 28 percent.

New York State voters approve 53 - 25 percent of the job Gov. Paterson is doing, and split 42 - 43 percent on his handling of the state budget, up from 40 - 46 percent last month.

In ranking the New York State Legislature, voters say:
  • 3 percent that it's the best in the nation;
  • 39 percent that it's among the best in the nation;
  • 36 percent that it's among the worst in the nation;
  • 7 percent that it's the worst in the nation.
Voters disapprove 54 - 28 percent of the way the legislature is doing its job. Only 20 percent say the legislature has the courage to make unpopular budget decisions while 71 percent say it will be "business as usual in Albany."

"One month after Gov. David Paterson rolled out his 'Fat Tax' proposal, and one week after he gave it a big push in his State of the State message, opposition is growing weightier instead of slimmer," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But he's keeping his overall approval up and improved his score on handling the budget."

New York State voters support 80 - 16 percent raising taxes on people who earn more than one million dollars a year. Voters also support 73 - 23 percent raising taxes on those who make more than $500,000 per year, and support 55 - 41 percent raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 per year.

"We'd like to tax millionaires and even half-millionaires. But the support begins to erode when we drop the high-tax level to $250,000, too close to home for many voters," Carroll said.

Voters statewide oppose 46 - 41 percent a proposal to charge tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges in New York City and use the money to offset Metropolitan Transportation Authority fare and toll hikes. Upstate voters support the new toll idea 46 - 30 percent while suburban voters oppose it 55 - 39 percent and New York City voters oppose it 60 - 37 percent. Commuters or voters who ride an MTA train, bus or subway or pay an MTA bridge or tunnel toll at least once a week oppose the measure 56 - 40 percent.

By a larger 51 - 41 percent margin, voters statewide oppose a tax increase on businesses in the MTA service area, even if the money were used to offset fare and toll hikes. Upstate voters oppose this tax hike 48 - 42 percent, as do suburban voters, 51 - 43 percent, New York City voters, 54 - 40 percent, and commuters, 51 - 45 percent.

"Gov. Paterson endorsed the MTA bailout plan - a business tax and new tolls on East River and Harlem River bridges. Voters don't agree. Upstate voters support the bridge tolls, because tolls they don't plan to pay are better than increased state support for the MTA," Carroll said. "The business tax is less objectionable than new bridge tolls for downstate voters."

New York State's budget problems are "very serious," 74 percent of voters say, higher than ever measured. Another 21 percent say they are "somewhat serious."

By a 56 - 30 percent margin, voters would rather cut services than raise taxes. If taxes must be raised, 61 percent say hike the sales tax while 29 percent say raise income taxes.

"New Yorkers are convinced the state is in bad shape," Carroll said. "But they doubt that the legislature has the courage to fix things. They think it'll be business as usual. Despite a new report on the dysfunctional state government, New Yorkers split over whether their lawmakers are among the nation's best, or worst."

From January 8 - 12, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,664 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.

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

For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling his job as Governor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              53%    41%    62%    55%    53%    53%
Disapprove           25     38     18     23     27     24
DK/NA                22     21     21     22     21     23
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              44%    45%    45%    63%    53%
Disapprove           31     31     31     18     25
DK/NA                25     24     24     19     22
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling his job as Governor?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008
 
Approve              53      53      64      56      50
Disapprove           25      29      14      17      10
DK/NA                22      18      22      27      39
 
 
5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              28%    27%    33%    23%    25%    31%
Disapprove           54     60     47     62     60     49
DK/NA                18     13     20     15     15     20
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              27%    24%    25%    31%    32%
Disapprove           60     58     59     48     54
DK/NA                14     18     17     20     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job? (* also 26% 8/11/2004)
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17  Apr 4   Aug 6
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2007    2008*
 
Approve              28      30      26      29      32      34      26
Disapprove           54      55      55      55      51      43      55
DK/NA                18      15      18      16      17      23      18
 
 
6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Thomas DiNapoli is handling his job as State Comptroller?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              30%    28%    30%    32%    32%    28%
Disapprove           18     17     21     16     20     17
DK/NA                52     55     50     52     48     55
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              25%    31%    30%    27%    34%
Disapprove           13     16     16     21     19
DK/NA                61     52     54     51     47
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Thomas DiNapoli is handling his job as State Comptroller?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17  Jul 31  Apr 4
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2007    2007
 
Approve              30      33      25      30      27      34      24
Disapprove           18      20      16      13      16      15      13
DK/NA                52      47      59      57      57      51      63
 
 
8. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Sheldon Silver is handling his job as State Assembly Speaker?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              31%    29%    36%    28%    29%    33%
Disapprove           34     37     30     39     45     26
DK/NA                34     34     34     33     25     42
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              27%    27%    27%    38%    30%
Disapprove           30     37     36     34     33
DK/NA                43     36     37     28     38
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Sheldon Silver is handling his job as State Assembly Speaker?
                                                             Highest Lowest
                                                             Approve Approve
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17  Dec 24  Aug 11
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2008    2004
 
Approve              31      38      31      32      34      38      26
Disapprove           34      34      31      31      31      34      33
DK/NA                34      28      38      37      35      38      41
 
 
18. In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New York State today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very satisfied        2%     3%     2%     3%     3%     2%
Smwht satisfied      28     19     39     20     23     32
Smwht dissatisfied   33     31     32     36     36     31
Very dissatisfied    36     46     26     39     37     35
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      2      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very satisfied        1%     2%     1%     4%     1%
Smwht satisfied      22     21     21     36     27
Smwht dissatisfied   31     33     33     30     38
Very dissatisfied    46     43     43     29     32
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      2
 
TREND: In general, how satisfied are you with the way things are going in New York State today? Are you very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, or very dissatisfied? (* also combined sat=30% on Dec 24)
                                                              VERY + SMWHT SAT
                                                              High    Low
                      Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17  Feb 25  Jan 15
                      2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    1998    2009*
 
Very satisfied         2       3       3       3       3      13       2
Smwht satisfied       28      27      34      37      38      60      28
Smwht dissatisfied    33      34      38      34      33      20      33
Very dissatisfied     36      36      25      25      24       7      36
DK/NA                  1       1       1       1       2       1       1
 
 
19. How would you rank the New York State legislature - The best in the nation, among the best in the nation, among the worst in the nation or the worst in the nation?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
The best              3%     4%     4%     1%     2%     4%
Among the best       39     28     50     34     35     42
Among the worst      36     47     26     43     43     31
The worst             7      8      4      8      9      5
DK/NA                15     13     16     13     13     17
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
The best              1%     1%     1%     5%     4%
Among the best       29     32     31     50     37
Among the worst      40     46     45     25     37
The worst            13      9     10      4      5
DK/NA                17     12     13     16     17
 
 
20. Would you describe the state of New York's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Excellent             -      -      1      -      1      -
Good                  7      8      8      3      7      6
Not so good          40     33     44     42     41     40
Poor                 52     58     47     54     51     53
DK/NA                 1      1      -      1      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             -      -      -      1      -
Good                  9      7      7      7      5
Not so good          32     35     35     44     46
Poor                 58     58     58     47     48
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      1
 
TREND: Would you describe the state of New York State's economy these days as: Excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                                                             EXCLNT + GOOD
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Jun 12  Apr 17  Mar 29  Dec 24
                     2009    2008    2008    2008    2008    2006    2008
 
Excellent             -       -       -       -       1       2       -
Good                  7       6      12      21      20      35       6
Not so good          40      43      48      48      53      40      43
Poor                 52      51      38      28      25      22      51
DK/NA                 1       1       1       3       1       2       1
 
 
21. Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Approve              42%    34%    46%    45%    43%    41%
Disapprove           43     55     37     39     45     41
DK/NA                15     11     16     16     12     18
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              40%    37%    37%    47%    42%
Disapprove           45     48     48     36     44
DK/NA                15     15     15     17     14
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the state budget? (* handled the state budget)
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Apr 17
                     2009    2008    2008*
 
Approve              42      40      52
Disapprove           43      46      18
DK/NA                15      14      29
 
 
22. How serious do you think New York State's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Very serious         74%    77%    74%    70%    72%    75%
Smwht serious        21     18     22     24     20     22
Not too serious       2      3      2      2      4      1
Not at all serious    1      1      -      1      1      -
DK/NA                 1      1      1      3      2      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very serious         74%    74%    74%    73%    75%
Smwht serious        22     22     22     22     19
Not too serious       2      1      1      2      4
Not at all serious    1      1      1      1      -
DK/NA                 1      2      2      1      2
 
TREND: How serious do you think New York State's budget problems are - very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Nov 6   Feb 12  Dec 18
                     2009    2008    2008    2003    2003    2002
 
Very serious         74      71      63      62      57      48
Smwht serious        21      25      32      30      37      44
Not too serious       2       3       2       5       3       5
Not at all serious    1       -       1       1       1       1
DK/NA                 1       1       2       1       1       3
 
 
23. Do you think the state legislature has the political courage to make unpopular budgetary decisions or do you think it will be business as usual in Albany?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Has courage          20%    14%    25%    17%    17%    22%
Business as usual    71     83     64     72     75     67
DK/NA                 9      3     11     11      8     10
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Has courage          15%    16%    16%    25%    19%
Business as usual    77     74     75     65     71
DK/NA                 8      9      9     10     10
 
 
24. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Raising taxes        30%    15%    44%    23%    25%    35%
Cutting services     56     73     42     62     62     50
DK/NA                14     12     15     14     13     15
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Raising taxes        20%    24%    23%    44%    23%
Cutting services     65     62     63     43     63
DK/NA                15     14     14     14     14
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6
                     2009    2008    2008
 
Raising taxes        30      36      32
Cutting services     56      53      56
DK/NA                14      11      12
 
 
25. If a tax increase is needed, which would you prefer - raising the state sales tax or raising the state income tax?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Raising sales tax    61%    72%    56%    59%    59%    63%
Raising income tax   29     19     35     31     30     28
DK/NA                10      9      9     10     12      8
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Raising sales tax    54%    62%    60%    57%    70%
Raising income tax   30     27     28     34     24
DK/NA                16     10     12     10      7
 
TREND: If a tax increase is needed, which would you prefer - raising the state sales tax or raising the state income tax?
                     Jan 15  Aug 6
                     2009    2008
 
State sales tax      61      58
State income tax     29      32
DK/NA                10      10
 
 
26. There is a proposal to raise the state income tax paid by people who earn more than a million dollars a year. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              80%    63%    89%    82%    76%    84%
Oppose               16     35      7     13     21     12
DK/NA                 4      2      3      6      4      3
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Support              74%    79%    78%    84%    79%    83%    83%    75%
Oppose               21     19     19     12     16     14     13     22
DK/NA                 5      2      3      4      5      3      3      3
 
TREND: There is a proposal to raise the state income tax paid by people who earn more than a million dollars a year. Do you support or oppose this proposal?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6
                     2009    2008    2008
 
Support              80      84      78
Oppose               16      13      18
DK/NA                 4       2       4
 
 
27. Some say that the income level for a tax increase should be lower than a million dollars. Do you support or oppose raising the state income tax paid by people who earn more than five hundred thousand dollars a year?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              73%    58%    80%    75%    69%    76%
Oppose               23     39     14     21     26     20
DK/NA                 4      3      5      5      5      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Support              68%    74%    73%    77%    66%    79%    75%    70%
Oppose               28     22     23     18     30     16     23     28
DK/NA                 4      4      4      5      4      5      2      2
 
 
28. Do you support or oppose raising the state income tax paid by people who earn more than two hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              55%    41%    63%    53%    53%    57%
Oppose               41     57     32     42     43     39
DK/NA                 4      2      5      5      5      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Support              56%    56%    56%    59%    47%    64%    55%    44%
Oppose               38     39     39     38     50     31     43     53
DK/NA                 6      5      5      4      4      4      2      3
 
 
29. There is a proposal for an "obesity tax" or a "fat tax" on non-diet sugary soft drinks. Do you support or oppose such a measure?
                                                                No col College
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom     degree degree
 
Support              32%    22%    39%    34%    30%    34%     28%    40%
Oppose               64     76     57     64     67     63      68     57
DK/NA                 3      2      5      2      4      3       4      3
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              DRINK OF CHOICEq30
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    Diet   Regular
 
Support              23%    30%    28%    40%    28%    35%    26%
Oppose               71     68     69     57     67     62     72
DK/NA                 6      2      3      3      5      3      2
 
TREND: There is a proposal for an "obesity tax" or a "fat tax" on non-diet sugary soft drinks. Do you support or oppose such a measure?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2009    2008
 
Support              32      37
Oppose               64      60
DK/NA                 3       3
 
 
30. Which would you say that you drink more often - diet soft drinks or regular, non-diet soft drinks?
                                                                No col College
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom     degree degree
 
Diet                 30%    31%    31%    29%    30%    30%     26%    38%
Regular              40     42     40     38     43     37      45     31
DK/NA                30     27     29     33     27     32      29     31
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Diet                 32%    32%    32%    26%    33%
Regular              41     39     40     44     34
DK/NA                27     29     29     30     33
 
TREND: Which would you say that you drink more often - diet soft drinks or regular, non-diet soft drinks?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2009    2008
 
Diet                 30%      31%
Regular              40       38
DK/NA                30       31
 
 
31. Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on gasoline?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              19%    10%    26%    21%    23%    17%
Oppose               78     90     71     77     76     81
DK/NA                 2      -      3      3      2      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Support              12%    14%    14%    27%    19%
Oppose               87     85     86     69     80
DK/NA                 1      1      1      4      2
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on gasoline?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2009    2008
 
Support              19      19
Oppose               78      79
DK/NA                 2       2
 
 
32. Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              65%    59%    71%    62%    57%    72%
Oppose               32     40     25     35     40     25
DK/NA                 3      2      3      3      4      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              Drink
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    Wkly Q39
 
Support              55%    63%    61%    68%    70%    52%
Oppose               40     34     35     30     28     45
DK/NA                 5      3      4      2      2      3
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2009    2008
 
Support              65      67
Oppose               32      32
DK/NA                 3       1
 
 
33. Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on cigarettes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              74%    66%    78%    75%    69%    77%
Oppose               25     34     20     25     30     22
DK/NA                 1      1      2      -      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    SmokersQ38
 
Support              67%    68%    68%    76%    81%    35%
Oppose               33     31     31     22     18     65
DK/NA                 -      1      1      2      1      -
 
TREND: Do you support or oppose increasing taxes on cigarettes?
                     Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2009    2008
 
Support              74      73
Oppose               25      26
DK/NA                 1       1
 
 
34. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, where do you think state spending should be decreased - health care or education?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Health care          30%    35%    27%    31%    33%    28%
Education            28     35     23     29     30     25
DK/NA                42     30     51     40     37     47
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Health care          29%    30%    30%    32%    27%
Education            27     31     30     21     34
DK/NA                43     39     40     48     39
 
 
35. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has proposed fare increases for buses, subways and trains, and toll hikes for bridges and tunnels. To help reduce the size of these fare and toll hikes would you support or oppose increasing taxes on businesses within the area served by the MTA?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              41%    36%    44%    44%    37%    45%
Oppose               51     61     47     48     56     46
DK/NA                 8      4      9      8      7      9
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              COMMUTERS
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    Yes Q37
 
Support              40%    42%    42%    40%    43%    45%
Oppose               50     47     48     54     51     51
DK/NA                 9     10     10      6      6      4
 
 
36. To help reduce the size of these fare and toll hikes would you support or oppose placing tolls on the East river and Harlem river bridges?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Support              41%    41%    42%    45%    41%    41%
Oppose               46     45     48     40     48     44
DK/NA                13     13     10     15     11     14
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              COMMUTERS
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    Yes Q37
 
Support              45%    46%    46%    37%    39%    40%
Oppose               29     31     30     60     55     56
DK/NA                25     23     24      3      7      4
 
 
37. Do you currently ride a Metropolitan Transportation Authority commuter train, subway or bus or pay a toll for an MTA bridge or tunnel at least once a week?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  38%    23%    51%    32%    39%    38%
No                   61     77     49     66     60     62
DK/NA                 1      -      -      1      1      -
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  11%    10%    10%    77%    33%
No                   87     90     89     23     66
DK/NA                 2      -      1      -      1
 
 
38. Do you currently smoke cigarettes?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Yes                  14%    17%    13%    15%    16%    13%
No                   86     83     87     85     84     87
DK/NA                 -      -      -      1      -      -
 
 
39. How often, if ever, do you drink alcoholic beverages such as liquor, wine or never?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom
 
Every day             7%     7%     6%     9%     9%     5%
Few days a week      20     22     17     22     26     15
Few days a month     26     21     27     28     26     26
Few days a year      27     27     27     28     21     31
Never                20     23     24     12     17     23
DK/NA                 1      -      -      1      1      1