April 7, 2009 - New York Voters Reject New State Budget Almost 4-1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; State Government Is Dysfunctional, Voters Say 3-1

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By a 60 - 16 percent margin, New York State voters disapprove of the new state budget enacted by the State Legislature last week, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. It was "business as usual in Albany," as Gov. David Paterson and legislative leaders did not show the political courage to make tough decisions, voters say 65 - 26 percent.

Voters disapprove 70 - 22 percent of decision to eliminate property tax rebates from the state budget, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Disapproval is consistent across the political spectrum and in every area of the state. The disapproval drops to 61 - 32 percent among upper income voters for whom the rebate is a smaller portion of income.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gets a negative 28 - 36 percent approval rating, with 36 percent undecided.

Spending increases in the state budget are needed to stimulate the economy, 39 percent of voters say, but 49 percent say the spending is "wasteful." Democrats say 55 - 32 percent the spending is needed, but "wasteful" is the verdict of Republicans 69 - 22 percent, and independent voters 54 - 34 percent.

"The brand new New York State budget gets panned. Nobody likes it, Republicans least of all. 'Necessary' or 'wasteful,' we asked of the budget. 'Wasteful' leads," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Speaker Sheldon Silver emerged from the budget fuss as the most powerful pol in Albany, as powerful as any speaker has ever been, yet a big percentage of voters don't know him well enough to decide if he's good or bad at his job. They better learn."

New York State voters approve 64 - 32 percent the decision to raise state income tax rates on families making more than $300,000 per year. Approval is 81 - 16 percent among Democrats and 58 - 40 percent among independent voters, while Republicans disapprove 53 - 42 percent. Voters also disagree 59 - 37 percent with the argument that the tax hike will drive wealthier people to leave New York.

"Will the rich folks move out, as tax hike opponents warned? Rush Limbaugh says he will, but most voters say he'll be lonely," Carroll said.

Voters agree 71 - 23 percent that New York State government is dysfunctional. The feeling is strong among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters and in every area of the state. They spread the blame evenly, with 21 percent saying Gov. Paterson is to blame; 25 percent citing Democrats in the State Legislature and 21 percent pointing to Republicans in the legislature.

Albany's budget-making practice of "three men in a room" making all the decisions continues, voters say 51 - 26 percent.

"Overall, voters agree with the 'dysfunctional' label for Albany. They spread the blame among the Governor and the legislators of both parties," Carroll said.

Gay Marriage

Given three choices, 41 percent of New York State voters say gay couples should be allowed to marry legally, while 33 percent say they should be allowed to form civil unions, but not marry and 19 percent say there should be no legal recognition of a gay union.
  • Among Republicans, 26 percent support gay marriage, with 36 percent for civil unions and 28 percent for no recognition.
  • Democrats go 49 percent for gay marriage, 29 percent for civil unions and 17 percent for no recognition.
  • Independent voters go 41 percent for gay marriage, 40 percent for civil unions and 14 percent for no recognition.
"The word among politicians is that gay marriage might pass this year. Voters split three ways, as they have for some time. Divided three ways, the gay marriage option tops the list. But if it's yes or no, where do those backers of civil unions line up?" Carroll asked.

From April 1- 5, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,528 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.5 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.

21. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Very satisfied        1%     -      1%     1%     -      2%     1%     3%
Smwht satisfied      24     21     32     14     22     24     22     34
Smwht dissatisfied   34     27     36     38     33     35     33     35
Very dissatisfied    40     52     30     47     44     38     43     27
DK/NA                 1      -      1      -      1      1      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very satisfied        3%     -      1%     2%     -
Smwht satisfied      13     21     20     27     27
Smwht dissatisfied   30     27     27     40     38
Very dissatisfied    53     52     52     31     33
DK/NA                 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?
                                                             VERY+SMWHT SAT
                                                             High    Low
                     Apr 07  Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Feb 25  Apr 07
                     2009    2009    2009    2008    2008    1998    2009
 
Very satisfied        1       2       2       3       3      13       1
Smwht satisfied      24      29      28      27      34      60      24
Smwht dissatisfied   34      37      33      34      38      20      34
Very dissatisfied    40      31      36      36      25       7      40
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the economy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              22%    17%    28%    16%    23%    21%    19%    34%
Disapprove           66     74     59     74     66     67     70     54
DK/NA                12      9     13      9     11     13     10     12
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              18%    19%    19%    27%    20%
Disapprove           74     71     71     59     67
DK/NA                 7     10     10     14     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the economy?
                     Apr 07  Feb 19
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              22      34
Disapprove           66      50
DK/NA                12      16
 
 
23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              67%    37%    92%    57%    65%    69%    61%    94%
Disapprove           25     51      4     31     28     22     30      4
DK/NA                 8     11      4     12      7      9      9      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              65%    60%    61%    76%    65%
Disapprove           30     28     28     18     28
DK/NA                 5     12     11      7      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy?
                     Apr 07  Feb 19
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              67      66
Disapprove           25      22
DK/NA                 8      13
 
 
24. Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Excellent             -      -      -      -      -      -      -      -
Good                  4      3      6      2      6      3      3      7
Not so good          38     40     40     34     37     39     38     46
Poor                 57     56     53     63     57     57     59     44
DK/NA                 1      1      1      -      -      2      -      3
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             -      -      -      -      -
Good                  6      3      4      5      3
Not so good          40     35     36     42     36
Poor                 54     61     59     52     60
DK/NA                 1      -      -      2      1
 
TREND: Would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Apr 07  Feb 19  Dec 24  Nov 15  Apr 26
                     2009    2009    2008    2001    2001
 
Excellent             -       -       -       1       2
Good                  4       2       3      29      46
Not so good          38      27      27      54      41
Poor                 57      71      70      14       9
DK/NA                 1       -       -       1       2
 
 
25. Would you describe the state of New York State's economy these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Excellent             -      -      1%     -      -      -      -      -
Good                  4      4      5      2      3      5      4      5
Not so good          40     38     43     41     38     42     36     56
Poor                 55     58     51     56     59     52     59     38
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      -      1      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             -      -      -      -      -
Good                  4      3      3      5      4
Not so good          28     33     32     46     46
Poor                 68     63     64     47     49
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
                     Apr 07  Feb 19  Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Mar 29  Apr 07
                     2009    2009    2009    2008    2008    2006    2009
 
Excellent             -       1       -       -       -       2       -
Good                  4       4       7       6      12      35       4
Not so good          40      40      40      43      48      40      40
Poor                 55      55      52      51      38      22      55
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       1       2       1
 
 
26. Do you think the nation's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Better               21%    11%    25%    23%    25%    18%    21%    26%
Worse                34     46     27     36     33     36     36     29
The same             42     41     45     39     40     43     40     44
DK/NA                 3      2      3      3      2      3      3      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Better               20%    18%    19%    23%    22%
Worse                36     38     38     32     32
The same             40     41     41     41     45
DK/NA                 4      3      3      4      1
 
 
27. Do you think New York State's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Better                5%     4%     8%     4%     6%     5%     4%    13%
Worse                56     63     49     59     54     57     59     43
The same             37     31     42     35     39     35     35     43
DK/NA                 2      2      2      2      1      3      3      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Better                1%     3%     2%    10%     3%
Worse                71     62     64     49     49
The same             28     32     31     38     46
DK/NA                 -      3      2      3      2
 
 
28. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Excellent             6%     8%     4%     7%     7%     5%     7%     1%
Good                 48     49     46     50     50     46     50     45
Not so good          32     32     32     32     28     35     30     39
Poor                 13     10     17     11     14     13     11     13
DK/NA                 2      2      1      1      2      2      2      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             8%     7%     7%     3%     7%
Good                 42     49     48     42     56
Not so good          37     29     30     37     26
Poor                 12     13     13     16      9
DK/NA                 -      2      2      2      3
 
TREND: Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Apr 07  Feb 19  Dec 24  Jan 23  Nov 15
                     2009    2009    2008    2002    2001
 
Excellent             6       4       5       9       8
Good                 48      44      43      53      59
Not so good          32      35      35      28      25
Poor                 13      15      16       8       6
DK/NA                 2       2       1       1       2
 
 
29. Do you think your personal finances are getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Better               10%    12%    10%     8%    12%     9%    10%     8%
Worse                28     27     28     29     26     30     29     21
The same             60     59     62     62     61     60     58     71
DK/NA                 2      2      1      2      2      2      2      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Better                7%    11%    10%    10%    10%
Worse                33     26     27     31     25
The same             58     61     61     58     63
DK/NA                 3      2      2      1      2
 
 
31. How much have you heard or read about the state budget agreement recently announced by Governor Paterson and legislative leaders? A lot, some, not much, or nothing at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
A lot                25%    34%    20%    27%    27%    23%    27%    17%
Some                 48     43     49     50     45     50     46     61
Not much             19     18     20     18     19     19     19     14
Nothing at all        7      5     10      5      8      6      7      6
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      1      1      1      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
A lot                38%    27%    29%    20%    24%
Some                 40     44     43     51     51
Not much             14     20     19     20     19
Nothing at all        7      8      8      8      3
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      2
 
 
32. Do you approve or disapprove of the state budget agreement recently announced by Governor Paterson and legislative leaders?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              16%    10%    22%    13%    16%    15%    14%    22%
Disapprove           60     71     52     64     63     58     63     56
DK/NA                24     19     26     23     21     27     23     22
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              Q31...
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    Lot/Sm
 
Approve              18%    12%    13%    19%    15%    17%
Disapprove           67     64     65     53     62     70
DK/NA                15     24     22     27     23     13
 
33. Do you think Governor Paterson and the state legislature showed political courage to make unpopular budgetary decisions or do you think it was business as usual in Albany?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Showed pol courage   26%    21%    32%    22%    25%    27%    25%    36%
Business as usual    65     69     59     69     68     62     65     58
DK/NA                10     10     10      9      7     12      9      6
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Showed pol courage   28%    26%    26%    22%    31%
Business as usual    60     65     64     68     59
DK/NA                12      9     10     10      9
 
 
34. Do you approve or disapprove of the decision to eliminate property tax rebates from the state budget, meaning if you pay property taxes you will not get a rebate check from the state?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              22%    15%    25%    24%    25%    20%    24%    20%
Disapprove           70     78     67     67     66     72     67     74
DK/NA                 8      7      8      9      9      8      9      7
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Approve              27%    21%    22%    25%    18%    15%    26%    32%
Disapprove           64     72     70     65     76     75     68     61
DK/NA                10      7      8     10      7     10      6      7
 
 
35. Do you approve or disapprove of the decision to raise the state income tax rate on individuals making 200,000 dollars per year and couples making 300,000 dollars per year?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              64%    42%    81%    58%    61%    67%    62%    74%
Disapprove           32     53     16     40     37     29     35     19
DK/NA                 4      4      3      2      3      4      3      7
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Approve              61%    68%    67%    65%    56%    69%    71%    52%
Disapprove           36     29     30     31     39     27     27     46
DK/NA                 3      3      3      4      4      4      2      1
 
 
36. Some people say that raising the state income tax rate on wealthier New Yorkers will lead wealthier New Yorkers to move out of New York State. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Agree                37%    55%    22%    43%    43%    33%    40%    31%
Disagree             59     39     75     55     55     63     56     69
DK/NA                 4      5      3      2      2      4      4      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Agree                42%    41%    41%    31%    39%    34%    32%    45%
Disagree             54     54     54     66     58     61     65     54
DK/NA                 3      4      4      3      3      5      3      -
 
 
37. What comes closer to your point of view - The new state budget's spending increases are needed to stimulate the economy during this economic downturn or The new state budget's spending increases are wasteful?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Needed               39%    22%    55%    34%    38%    40%    34%    64%
Wasteful             49     69     32     54     54     44     54     25
DK/NA                12      9     13     12      8     16     12     10
 
                     UpState.....  UpState              INCOME.............
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub    <50    50-100 >100K
 
Needed               23%    32%    30%    50%    40%    42%    39%    39%
Wasteful             64     57     59     37     46     47     48     54
DK/NA                12     11     11     13     14     11     13      7
 
 
38. Historically, the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Assembly Speaker have made all the big decisions at the state Capitol in Albany with not much input from state legislators. Do you think that "Albany's three men in a room" decision-making is continuing or do you think that other legislators are more involved since Governor Paterson took office?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Three men continues  51%    56%    44%    57%    58%    47%    55%    39%
Others involved      26     21     32     24     24     28     22     48
DK/NA                22     23     23     18     18     25     23     14
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Three men continues  57%    56%    56%    45%    52%
Others involved      32     21     23     32     26
DK/NA                11     23     21     24     23
 
TREND: Historically, the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Assembly Speaker have made all the big decisions at the state Capitol in Albany with not much input from state legislators. Do you think that Albany's 'three men in a room' decision-making is continuing or do you think that other legislators are more involved since Governor Paterson took office? (*Spitzer)
                     Apr 07  Jun 19  Apr 4
                     2009    2007*   2007*
 
Three men continues  51      34      32
Others involved      26      35      36
DK/NA                22      31      33
 
 
39. Some people have said that New York State government is dysfunctional. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Agree                71%    79%    62%    77%    74%    68%    74%    56%
Disagree             23     16     32     18     22     24     20     39
DK/NA                 6      5      6      5      4      8      6      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Agree                81%    79%    80%    62%    66%
Disagree             13     16     15     30     29
DK/NA                 6      5      5      7      6
 
 
40. (If agree in q39) Who do you think is most to blame - Governor Paterson, the Republicans in the state legislature or the Democrats in the state legislature?
                     AGREE Q39...........................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Paterson             21%    22%    17%    28%    17%    24%    23%    13%
Republicans in leg   21      5     43     11     21     20     17     44
Democrats in leg     25     49      6     26     30     20     28      5
DK/NA                33     25     35     36     31     35     33     38
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Paterson             30%    25%    26%    17%    17%
Republicans in leg   20     15     16     31     15
Democrats in leg     24     24     24     22     31
DK/NA                26     36     34     31     36
 
 
42. Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Marry                41%    26%    49%    41%    36%    45%    43%    33%
Civil unions         33     36     29     40     34     33     33     29
No recognition       19     28     17     14     23     15     18     24
DK/NA                 7     10      6      5      7      7      6     14
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Marry                35%    39%    39%    46%    38%
Civil unions         31     32     32     27     45
No recognition       19     22     21     20     13
DK/NA                15      7      8      7      5
 
TREND: Do you think same-sex couples should be allowed legally to marry, should be allowed legally to form civil unions but not marry, or should not be allowed to obtain legal recognition of their relationships?
                     Apr 07  Jun 12  Dec 12  Jun 19
                     2009    2008    2007    2007
                             
Marry                41      42      40      35
Civil unions         33      31      29      35
No recognition       19      21      23      22
DK/NA                 7       6       8       8