August 18, 2009 - Voters Say 4 - 1 New York State Government Is Broken, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; More Would Dump Their State Senator To Clean House

Word format

New York State government is dysfunctional, voters say 77 - 19 percent, and 58 percent say it is "the worst" or "among the worst" in the nation, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Only 2 percent say New York has the "best" state government in the nation, while 28 percent say "among the best."

Voters disapprove 72 - 18 percent of the way the State Legislature is handling its job, the legislature's lowest overall score ever.

Forty-nine percent of New York State voters say that almost everyone in the State Senate - including their own state senator - deserves to be thrown out, while 40 percent say their state senator should be reelected, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

By a 64 - 24 percent margin, voters say there should be a state Constitutional Convention to reform New York State government. Voters support 54 - 37 percent amending the State Constitution so the Governor can name a Lieutenant Governor when that position is vacant.

Voters also support 70 - 21 percent creating a commission independent of the State Legislature to redraw legislative district lines.

"Dysfunctional is practically a synonym for the New York State Legislature and voters want a change," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"While voters tend to like their own legislators, almost half of New Yorkers are ready to throw out their own state senator in a general house-cleaning.

"Voters would like to see a Constitutional Convention to straighten out Albany. Memo to Dick Ravitch: They'd like to see it come up with a system to replace a lieutenant governor when that person is promoted to Governor or resigns or otherwise leaves office."

By a 50 - 48 percent margin, voters say the controversy over control of the State Senate left them "embarrassed to be New Yorkers."

The Democrats are to blame for the Senate controversy, 27 percent say, while 25 percent blame the Republicans, with 49 percent undecided.

A total of 71 percent of New York State voters are "somewhat dissatisfied" or "very dissatisfied" with the way things are going in the state today, while 28 percent are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied."

"Last week's Quinnipiac University poll showed 65 percent of our neighbors across the Hudson River were embarrassed by the spate of corruption arrests in New Jersey," Carroll said. Half of all New Yorkers feel personally embarrassed by the Albany mess."

State Budget

A total of 93 percent of New York State voters say the state's budget problems are "somewhat serious" or "very serious."

But only 8 percent say the State Legislature has "the political courage to make unpopular budget decisions," while 87 percent expect it will be "business as usual in Albany."

Cut services rather than raise taxes to balance the budget, New York State voters say 54 - 33 percent.

"Almost everyone says we're in serious budget trouble," Carroll said. "And almost everyone doubts that the State Legislature is up to the challenge."

From August 10 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,667 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.

11. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              18%    13%    26%    12%    18%    18%    13%    33%
Disapprove           72     73     67     78     72     71     75     63
DK/NA                10     13      7     10      9     11     12      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              11%    15%    14%    26%    14%
Disapprove           77     75     75     66     76
DK/NA                12     11     11      9     10
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state legislature is handling its job? (*Low app also 18% Jun 2009)
                                                     APPROVE......   DIS...
                                                     High    Low     High
                     Aug 18  Jun 22  Apr 6   Feb 17  Apr 4   Aug 18  Aug 18
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2007    2009*   2009
 
Approve              18      18      26      32      34      18      18
Disapprove           72      69      58      50      43      72      72
DK/NA                10      13      16      18      23      10      10
 
 
12. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state Senate is handling its job?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              20%    20%    27%    12%    16%    23%    16%    31%
Disapprove           71     71     66     78     76     67     75     64
DK/NA                 9      9      7     10      8     10      9      5
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              11%    16%    15%    25%    19%
Disapprove           84     74     76     65     75
DK/NA                 5     10      9     10      6
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way the state Senate is handling its job?
                     Aug 18  Jun 22
                     2009    2009
 
Approve              20      20
Disapprove           71      67
DK/NA                 9      13
 
 
14. 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        3%     1%     7%     -      3%     3%     1%    11%
Smwht satisfied      25     18     39     15     23     27     22     35
Smwht dissatisfied   37     38     32     46     36     38     38     36
Very dissatisfied    34     43     21     38     37     31     38     19
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      1      1      1      -
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very satisfied        2%     -      1%     6%     3%
Smwht satisfied      21     16     17     35     24
Smwht dissatisfied   40     33     34     38     43
Very dissatisfied    34     50     48     21     30
DK/NA                 3      1      1      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
                     Aug 18  Jun 22  Apr 7   Feb 18  Jan 15  Feb 25  Apr 7
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2009    1998    2009
 
Very satisfied        3       2       1       2       2      13       1
Smwht satisfied      25      26      24      29      28      60      24
Smwht dissatisfied   37      34      34      37      33      20      34
Very dissatisfied    34      37      40      31      36       7      40
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       1       1       1
 
 
17. 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    Wht    Blk
 
The best              2%     -      4%     1%     1%     3%     1%     6%
Among the best       28     26     37     22     27     29     23     49
Among the worst      45     46     38     50     46     44     49     34
The worst            13     13     10     16     15     11     14      8
DK/NA                12     15     11     11     10     13     13      3
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
The best              1%     1%     1%     4%     1%
Among the best       21     21     21     36     31
Among the worst      53     52     52     38     44
The worst            14     16     15     10     14
DK/NA                11     11     11     13     11
 
TREND: 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?
                     Aug 18  Jan 15
                     2009    2009
 
The best              2       3
Among the best       28      39
Among the worst      45      36
The worst            13       7
DK/NA                12      15
 
 
18. Do you think there should be a state constitutional convention to reform New York State government or not?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  64%    59%    58%    75%    65%    64%    63%    69%
No                   24     29     29     16     25     24     24     27
DK/NA                11     13     12      9     10     13     12      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  72%    68%    69%    61%    60%
No                   18     20     20     27     29
DK/NA                11     12     12     12     10
 
 
19. Do you think the state constitution should be amended so the governor can name a lieutenant governor when that position is vacant?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  54%    47%    63%    51%    58%    51%    51%    73%
No                   37     43     27     43     35     39     40     17
DK/NA                 9     11     10      6      7     10      9     10
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  57%    53%    53%    56%    53%
No                   32     41     39     31     42
DK/NA                11      7      7     13      5
 
 
20. 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
 
Legislature          21%    25%    24%    15%    20%    22%    18%    32%
Commission           70     64     69     77     73     68     73     64
DK/NA                 9     11      7      8      7     10      9      4
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Legislature          22%    17%    17%    27%    18%
Commission           70     73     72     66     75
DK/NA                 8     11     10      7      8
 
TREND: 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?
                     Aug 18  Jun 22
                     2009    2009
 
Legislature          21      22
Commission           70      66
DK/NA                 9      12
 
 
21. 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
 
Yes                  69%    70%    68%    72%    73%    66%    69%    68%
No                   16     17     19     13     15     18     16     23
DK/NA                14     13     12     15     12     16     15      9
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  70%    67%    68%    68%    76%
No                   19     17     18     17     13
DK/NA                11     15     15     16     11
 
TREND: 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?
                     Aug 18  Jun 22
                     2009    2009
 
Yes                  69      65
No                   16      14
DK/NA                14      22
 
 
22. Which comes closer to your view about your state senator - there are a lot of problems in Albany but your state Senator has done a good job and deserves to be reelected or almost everyone in the State Senate should be thrown out including your state Senator?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Deserves reelection  40%    35%    53%    30%    35%    45%    38%    52%
Shld be thrown out   49     54     34     60     54     44     51     36
DK/NA                11     12     13      9     11     12     11     12
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Deserves reelection  37%    38%    38%    42%    39%
Shld be thrown out   51     54     53     43     50
DK/NA                12      8      9     15     11
 
 
23. 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                77%    80%    70%    83%    79%    75%    81%    66%
Disagree             19     14     27     15     19     20     15     33
DK/NA                 3      6      3      2      2      5      5      1
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Agree                79%    86%    85%    68%    77%
Disagree             17     10     11     28     20
DK/NA                 4      4      4      4      3
 
TREND: Some people have said that New York state government is dysfunctional. Do you agree or disagree?
                     Aug 18  Jun 22  Apr 7
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Agree                77      78      71
Disagree             19      18      23
DK/NA                 3       4       6
 
 
24. Did the controversy over who controlled the State Senate make you embarrassed to be a New Yorker?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Yes                  50%    56%    48%    51%    47%    53%    53%    54%
No                   48     42     51     47     50     45     45     41
DK/NA                 2      3      1      3      2      2      2      5
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  44%    54%    53%    47%    51%
No                   55     44     46     50     47
DK/NA                 1      1      1      3      2
 
TREND: Did the controversy over who controlled the State Senate make you embarrassed to be a New Yorker? (*Does the current controversy over who controls the State Senate make you embarrassed to be a New Yorker?)
                     Aug 18  Jun 22
                     2009    2009*
 
Yes                  50      42
No                   48      55
DK/NA                 2       3
 
 
25. Who do you blame for the controversy - Democrats or Republicans?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Democrats            27%    52%    15%    27%    32%    22%    30%    20%
Republicans          25      4     46     15     22     27     19     49
DK/NA                49     44     39     58     46     50     51     31
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Democrats            25%    23%    23%    29%    29%
Republicans          33     19     21     31     21
DK/NA                41     58     56     39     50
 
TREND: Who do you blame for the controversy - Democrats or Republicans?
                     Aug 18  Jun 22
                     2009    2009
 
Democrats            27      29
Republicans          25      32
DK/NA                49      39
 
 
31. Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the state budget?
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Wht    Blk
 
Approve              25%    21%    34%    17%    27%    23%    23%    33%
Disapprove           61     68     51     66     60     61     62     56
DK/NA                15     11     15     17     13     16     15     11
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Approve              25%    20%    20%    29%    25%
Disapprove           66     68     68     53     60
DK/NA                 8     12     12     18     15
 
TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way David Paterson is handling the state budget? (*handled the state budget)
                     Aug 18  Apr 6   Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24  Apr 17
                     2009    2009    2009    2009    2008    2008*
 
Approve              25      19      36      42      40      52
Disapprove           61      70      45      43      46      18
DK/NA                15      11      19      15      14      29
 
 
32. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Very serious         65%    71%    55%    72%    66%    64%    69%    49%
Smwht serious        28     27     33     23     27     29     26     36
Not too serious       5      2      9      2      4      5      4     10
Not at all serious    1      -      2      1      2      1      1      3
DK/NA                 1      -      1      1      1      2      1      2
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Very serious         72%    75%    74%    56%    63%
Smwht serious        26     20     21     33     34
Not too serious       -      3      3      7      4
Not at all serious    1      1      1      2      -
DK/NA                 -      1      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? (*Also Dec 2002)
                                                             VERY+SMWHT SAT
                                                             High    Low
                     Aug 18  Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6   Dec 24  Nov 6
                     2009    2009    2009    2008    2008    2008    2003*
 
Very serious         65      69      74      71      63      71      62
Smwht serious        28      26      21      25      32      25      30
Not too serious       5       4       2       3       2       3       5
Not at all serious    1       -       1       -       1       -       1
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       2       1       1
 
 
33. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Has courage           8%     6%    11%     5%     5%    10%     7%    10%
Business as usual    87     87     82     92     89     85     88     82
DK/NA                 5      7      7      3      5      5      4      8
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Has courage           3%     7%     7%    10%     6%
Business as usual    93     88     88     82     92
DK/NA                 4      5      5      8      3
 
TREND: 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?
                     Aug 18  Feb 18  Jan 15
                     2009    2009    2009
 
Has courage           8      18      20
Business as usual    87      74      71
DK/NA                 5       8       9
 
 
34. 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    Wht    Blk
 
Raising taxes        33%     9%    54%    24%    30%    35%    29%    59%
Cutting services     54     81     31     65     58     51     60     21
DK/NA                13     10     15     11     12     14     11     21
 
                     UpState.....  UpState
                     Urban  Othr   Total  NYC    Sub
 
Raising taxes        29%    24%    25%    46%    26%
Cutting services     59     62     61     40     64
DK/NA                12     14     14     14     11
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Aug 18  Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24  Aug 6
                     2009    2009    2009    2008    2008
 
Raising taxes        33      34      30      36      32
Cutting services     54      51      56      53      56
DK/NA                13      15      14      11      12