June 22, 2009 - New York Government Is Broken, Voters Say 4 - 1, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; 3 - 1 Disapproval Is Worst Ever For State Legislature

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State government is dysfunctional, New York State voters say 78 - 18 percent, with agreement among all parties and races and in every area of the state, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Blame for this dysfunction is evenly divided, with 25 percent blaming Republicans in the Legislature, 21 percent blaming Democrats and 23 percent blaming Gov. David Paterson. The biggest group, 31 percent, is undecided.

Voters disapprove 69 - 18 percent of the job the New York State Legislature is doing, the lowest grade ever by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll. This feeling also is consistent among most groups. Separately, voters disapprove 67 - 20 percent of the job the State Senate is doing.

But voters say 48 - 27 percent that their state senator deserves to be reelected in 2010. Democrats back their individual state senator 56 - 19 percent, while Republicans are less supportive, 41 - 36 percent. Independent voters back their incumbent 47 - 31 percent.

The Democrats should control the State Senate, voters say 50 - 30 percent, a decision that follows strict party lines with independent voters tipping Democratic 37 - 31 percent.

"Dysfunctional? That could be the automatic adjective for Albany. Maybe we should find a more vivid word. Three quarters of New York State voters say their state government doesn't work," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Gov. David Paterson just can't win. He's not even in the Senate anymore, but a substantial minority blames him for the nonsense there.

"And while almost nobody likes the 'legislature,' that big impersonal word, many voters still back their own State Senator, a person with a name and face they know."

The stalemate in the State Senate makes them embarrassed to be New Yorkers, 42 percent of voters say, but 55 percent are not embarrassed.

A total of 80 percent of voters are "very concerned" or "somewhat concerned" that this stalemate could prevent passage of important legislation.

And 71 percent of New York State voters, one of the highest numbers ever measured in a Quinnipiac University poll, are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going in the Empire State today. A total of 80 percent of upstate voters are dissatisfied, including 48 percent who are "very dissatisfied."

"Truth remains goofier than fiction. We're only sort of embarrassed - but we're really worried - about the Senate standoff. Overwhelmingly, voters fear that it imperils the chances of passing important legislation," Carroll said.

Legislative Redistricting

Looking at one possible reform measure, New York State voters say 66 - 22 percent that the district lines by which state legislators and members of Congress are elected should be drawn by a commission with no connection to the State Legislature, rather than by the State Legislature, as is the current practice. Support for a commission separate from the legislature is strong among all groups.

District lines drawn by a commission independent of the legislature would make for more competitive elections, voters say 65 - 14 percent.

"Letting legislators draw their own district lines would tempt a saint into self- protection, and no one thinks there are many saints in Albany," Carroll said.

"Voters want a commission independent of the Legislature to create the legislative districts. Normally, voters don't focus on an issue such as this. But given their feelings about state government, there could be more pressure for reform."

From June 16 - 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 2,477 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2 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.

17. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              18%    11%    27%    15%    15%    21%    13%    33%    44%
Disapprove           69     73     60     75     77     62     74     55     40
DK/NA                13     16     13     10      8     17     13     13     16
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              11%    15%    14%    25%    16%
Disapprove           72     74     74     61     71
DK/NA                17     11     12     14     13
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                                                     APPROVE......   DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Jun 22  Apr 06  Feb 17  Jan 15  Apr 4   Jun 22  Jun 22
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009    2009
 
Approve              18      26      32      28      34      18      18
Disapprove           69      58      50      54      43      69      69
DK/NA                13      16      18      18      23      13      13
 
 
18. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state Senate is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Approve              20%    16%    26%    16%    17%    23%    16%    31%    37%
Disapprove           67     70     61     73     76     59     71     56     45
DK/NA                13     14     12     11      7     18     13     13     18
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              11%    18%    18%    25%    18%
Disapprove           76     68     69     63     69
DK/NA                13     13     13     12     13
 
 
20. 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    His
 
Very satisfied        2%     2%     3%     1%     2%     2%     1%     5%     5%
Smwht satisfied      26     17     36     21     23     29     23     38     32
Smwht dissatisfied   34     36     35     35     33     35     35     27     45
Very dissatisfied    37     44     25     42     41     33     40     30     16
DK/NA                 1      1      1      1      1      1      1      1      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very satisfied        2%     2%     2%     3%     -
Smwht satisfied      15     18     18     34     31
Smwht dissatisfied   35     32     32     33     40
Very dissatisfied    47     48     48     28     28
DK/NA                 -      -      -      2      1
 
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
                     Jun 22  Apr 07  Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24  Feb 25  Apr 07
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    1998    2009
 
Very satisfied        2       1       2       2       3      13       1
Smwht satisfied      26      24      29      28      27      60      24
Smwht dissatisfied   34      34      37      33      34      20      34
Very dissatisfied    37      40      31      36      36       7      40
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
22. Looking ahead to the 2010 election for state senator, do you feel that your state senator deserves to be reelected, or do you feel that your state senator does not deserve to be reelected?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes/Deserves         48%    41%    56%    47%    47%    50%    48%    58%    52%
No/Does not          27     36     19     31     33     21     28     19     27
DK/NA                25     23     26     22     20     28     23     24     22
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes/Deserves         45%    51%    51%    47%    46%
No/Does not          23     28     28     24     30
DK/NA                32     21     22     28     24
 
 
23. Who do you think should draw the district lines by which members of the state legislature and Congress are elected - the state legislature or a commission that has no connection to the state legislature?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Legislature          22%    20%    28%    16%    20%    24%    17%    42%    34%
Commission           66     68     59     75     71     61     72     47     49
DK/NA                12     12     12      9      9     15     11     11     17
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Legislature          15%    20%    20%    27%    17%
Commission           71     70     70     59     69
DK/NA                14      9     10     14     14
 
 
24. If a commission drew the district lines from which legislators and members of Congress are elected, would that make for more competitive elections or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  65%    63%    66%    66%    68%    62%    67%    63%    61%
No                   14     14     13     14     16     12     13     13     21
DK/NA                22     23     21     20     16     26     21     24     18
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  71%    67%    68%    63%    62%
No                   11     12     12     16     14
DK/NA                18     21     20     21     24
 
 
25. Who would you like to control the state senate - the Democrats or the Republicans?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Democrats            50%     3%    90%    37%    43%    56%    42%    87%    66%
Republicans          30     84      2     31     36     24     37      2     17
DK/NA                20     14      8     32     20     20     21     10     17
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Democrats            53%    37%    39%    69%    41%
Republicans          25     36     35     17     40
DK/NA                22     27     26     14     18
 
 
26. Do you think there is any significant difference between the Democrats and the Republicans in the State Senate?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  63%    64%    72%    53%    60%    65%    61%    69%    77%
No                   30     29     20     39     34     25     31     22     21
DK/NA                 8      7      8      8      6     10      8      8      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  61%    56%    57%    70%    63%
No                   33     35     34     24     28
DK/NA                 6      9      9      6      8
 
 
27. Some people have said that New York State government is dysfunctional. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Agree                78%    80%    72%    83%    80%    76%    81%    66%    64%
Disagree             18     15     22     14     17     19     15     28     28
DK/NA                 4      5      5      3      3      5      4      6      7
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Agree                89%    84%    84%    71%    75%
Disagree              7     14     13     23     20
DK/NA                 4      3      3      6      5
 
TREND: Some people have said that New York State government is dysfunctional. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Jun 22  Apr 07
                     2009    2009
 
Agree                78      71
Disagree             18      23
DK/NA                 4       6
 
 
27a. (If agree q27) Who do you think is most to blame - Governor Paterson or the Republicans in the state legislature or the Democrats in the state legislature?
                     AGREE Q27..................................................
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Paterson             23%    29%    17%    26%    20%    25%    25%    13%    14%
Republicans in leg   25      3     45     20     23     27     21     50     35
Democrats in leg     21     42     10     20     26     16     23     10     22
DK/NA                31     26     28     34     30     32     32     26     29
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Paterson             27%    28%    27%    16%    23%
Republicans in leg   21     19     19     36     21
Democrats in leg     17     20     20     20     26
DK/NA                35     33     34     28     30
 
TREND: (If agree) Who do you think is most to blame - Governor Paterson, the Republicans in the state legislature or the Democrats in the state legislature?
                     Jun 22  Apr 07
                     2009    2009
 
Paterson             23      21
Republicans in leg   25      21
Democrats in leg     21      25
DK/NA                31      33
 
 
28. Does the current controversy over who controls the State Senate make you embarrassed to be a New Yorker?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Yes                  42%    40%    40%    46%    41%    42%    45%    35%    24%
No                   55     57     56     51     58     53     53     61     70
DK/NA                 3      3      3      3      1      5      2      4      6
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  47%    49%    49%    34%    39%
No                   51     48     49     63     58
DK/NA                 2      3      3      3      4
 
 
29. Who do you blame for the controversy - Democrats or Republicans?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Democrats            29%    58%    13%    32%    34%    24%    33%    13%    24%
Republicans          32      9     52     26     29     35     28     54     40
DK/NA                39     32     35     43     37     41     39     32     37
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Democrats            25%    29%    29%    25%    35%
Republicans          34     29     29     37     30
DK/NA                40     42     42     37     35
 
 
30. How concerned are you that this controversy might prevent passage of important legislation? Very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not concerned at all?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk    His
 
Very concerned       47%    41%    51%    48%    45%    49%    47%    62%    32%
Smwht concerned      33     35     32     33     32     33     34     17     40
Not too concerned    12     13     12     11     12     11     11     13     16
Not concerned at all  7     10      4      7     10      4      6      6      7
DK/NA                 2      2      2      1      1      2      1      2      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very concerned       46%    47%    47%    50%    44%
Smwht concerned      29     33     32     31     36
Not too concerned    17     11     11     11     13
Not concerned at all  5      8      7      6      6
DK/NA                 3      1      1      3      1