January 26, 2011 - New Yorkers Oppose Many Budget-Cutting Ideas, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; But 3-1 Support Freezing State Worker Pay

Word format

New York State's new governor, Andrew Cuomo, gets a 47 - 11 percent favorability rating from voters, with 36 percent saying they don't know enough about him to form an opinion, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

While 77 percent of voters say New York State's budget problems are "very serious," and 19 percent call them "somewhat serious," voters oppose many of the possible budget cuts that could help close the state's deficit, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

New York State voters support 75 - 20 percent a wage freeze for state workers, with 68 - 25 percent support among Democrats and 73 - 24 percent from voters with at least one union member in the household. But a look at other budget-cutting measures shows:
  • 45 - 47 percent split on layoffs of state workers;
  • 52 - 30 percent support furloughs for state workers;
  • 55 - 38 percent oppose reducing state worker pensions;
  • 79 - 18 percent oppose cutting state aid to public schools;
  • 69 - 28 percent oppose cutting Medicaid.
"In what is usually the 'honeymoon' for new officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets a so-so welcome. We didn't ask about his job approval, since he's been on the job less than a month, but more New Yorkers give him a 'favorable' rating than an 'unfavorable,' meaning they like him. Still, about a third are taking a wait-and-see attitude," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But the same voters who agree the state's in horrendous fiscal shape reject many of the standard remedies. Except when it comes to public employees. Gov. Cuomo has called for a wage freeze and New Yorkers are with him more than 3-1, even those in union households."

"But that's about where it stops. Layoffs? Voters are divided. Furloughs? A little more support. School aid? Leave it alone. Medicaid? Don't cut it," Carroll added.

By an overwhelming 82 - 13 percent margin, New York State voters support a cap on property tax increases, with strong support from every group.

In an open-ended question, allowing for any answer, 37 percent list economy or jobs as the state's most important problem, followed by 19 percent who cite the budget and 17 percent who list taxes. No other issue gets more than 6 percent.

Given a choice between raising taxes or cutting services to balance the budget, New York State voters prefer service cuts 60 - 27 percent. Democrats split 42 - 43 percent, while support for service cuts is 82 - 8 percent among Republicans and 66 - 22 percent among independent voters.

In a straight out "support" or "oppose" question, voters oppose 66 - 32 percent increasing state taxes to balance the budget. Democrats oppose tax hikes 54 - 43 percent.

But voters say 74 - 19 percent that the state will increase taxes. The feeling that taxes are going up is strong among all groups.

By a small 42 - 39 percent margin, voters say Cuomo and the State Legislature will be able to solve New York State's budget problems.

And by a larger 57 - 29 percent margin, voters are hopeful that Cuomo will be able to open up the budget negations to more state legislators, breaking the long tradition of "three men in a room," the governor, the Assembly speaker and the State Senate majority leader, making major budget decisions.

"New Yorkers are cynical about Albany. By 2-1, they don't want tax increases but by almost 4-1, voters think Albany will do it anyway," Carroll said. "But most think Cuomo might be able to end the infamous 'three-men-in-a-room' way of doing the public business."

Andrew Cuomo will be a better governor than his father, Mario Cuomo, 26 percent of voters say, while 5 percent give the nod to Mario Cuomo and 41 percent think father and son will be about the same.

From January 18 - 24, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,436 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.

1. Is your opinion of Governor Andrew Cuomo favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Favorable            47%    34%    64%    39%    45%    50%    50%
Unfavorable          11     18      5     13     13      9     13
Hvn't hrd enough     36     40     26     43     36     35     29
REFUSED               6      8      5      5      5      6      7
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Favorable            40%    53%    52%
Unfavorable          12     10     11
Hvn't hrd enough     42     32     31
REFUSED               6      6      6
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Andrew Cuomo favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him? (*High also 63% Apr 2009 and Feb 2009/**Added title "Governor Andrew Cuomo")
                                                             FAVORABLE.....
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 26  Sep 01  Jun 22  Apr 13  Feb 3   Jun 24  Jan 26
                     2011**  2010    2010    2010    2010    2009*   2011**
 
Favorable            47      54      57      59      54      63      47
Unfavorable          11      21      18      19      16      15      11
Hvn't hrd enough     36      22      22      20      28      20      36
REFUSED               6       3       3       2       2       2       6
 
 
5. 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?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Very satisfied        2%     1%     2%     2%     2%     2%     1%
Smwht satisfied      26     11     39     21     20     31     23
Smwht dissatisfied   37     37     40     36     37     38     40
Very dissatisfied    33     48     17     39     38     29     33
DK/NA                 2      2      2      3      3      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
                     Jan 26  Dec 08  Sep 01  Jul 28  Jun 23  Feb 25  Jun 23
                     2011    2010    2010    2010    2010    1998    2010
 
Very satisfied        2       2       1       3       1      13       1
Smwht satisfied      26      23      19      20      18      60      18
Smwht dissatisfied   37      31      31      32      33      20      33
Very dissatisfied    33      42      47      45      47       7      47
DK/NA                 2       1       1       -       1       1       1
 
 
6. What do you think is the most important problem facing New York State today?
                            Tot
 
Economy Total               37%
 Economy general             6
 Unemployment/Jobs          27
 Cost of living              2
 Business leaving/
  Outsourcing                1
 Economy other               1
 
Budget Total                19%
 Budget general              5
 Budget cuts/Cuts in
  services                   2
 Budget deficits             6
 Gov too big/Gov spending    3
 Budget priorities           2
 State workers/Union
  contracts too costly       1
 
Taxes Total                 17%
 Taxes general              11
 Property tax                5
 Income Tax                  1
 
Politicians Total            6%
 Politicians/Campaigns
  general                    1
 Political corruption        2
 Governor/State leadership/
  Legislature                2
 Politicians other           1
 
Education Total              5%
 Education general           3
 Funding education           1
 Education other             1
 
Healthcare Total             3%
 Healthcare/Costs/Ins/HMO's  2
 Medicare                    1
 
Crime Total                  2%
 Crime/Violence general      1
 Crime other                 1
 
Welfare                      1%
Poverty/Homeless             1%
Senior issues                1%
Lack of ethics/Morality      1%
Mass Transit Total           1%
War (Iraq)                   1%
 
Other                        2%
DK/NA                        3%
 
 
7. Do you think Andrew Cuomo will be a better governor than his father, Mario Cuomo, a worse governor, or about the same?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Better               26%    33%    23%    26%    25%    27%    25%
Worse                 5      7      4      6      6      5      7
About the same       41     37     45     39     42     41     43
DK/NA                27     23     28     28     27     28     25
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Better               26%    22%    32%
Worse                 4      9      3
About the same       40     45     39
DK/NA                30     25     26
 
TREND: Do you think Andrew Cuomo would be a better governor than his father, Mario Cuomo, a worse governor, or about the same? (* "will" be a better governor)
                     Jan 26  Jun 22
                     2011*   2010
 
Better               26      26
Worse                 5      10
About the same       41      51
DK/NA                27      18
 
 
8. Would you describe the state of New York State's economy these days as; excellent,good, not so good, or poor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Excellent             1%     1%     1%     -      1%     1%     1%
Good                 10      5     15      8     10      9      8
Not so good          44     38     48     44     40     47     44
Poor                 45     56     34     48     49     41     48
DK/NA                 1      -      2      1      -      2      -
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             0%     1%     1%
Good                  7     14      8
Not so good          37     48     48
Poor                 55     36     41
DK/NA                 -      1      2
 
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 26  Apr 07  Feb 19  Jan 15  Dec 24  Mar 29  Apr 07
                     2011    2009    2009    2009    2008    2006    2009
 
Excellent             1       -       1       -       -       2       -
Good                 10       4       4       7       6      35       4
Not so good          44      40      40      40      43      40      40
Poor                 45      55      55      52      51      22      55
DK/NA                 1       1       1       1       1       2       1
 
 
9. Do you think New York State's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Better               16%    11%    24%    11%    17%    15%    16%
Worse                35     40     26     40     38     33     37
The same             46     44     48     46     43     49     45
DK/NA                 3      4      2      3      3      3      2
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Better               12%    20%    17%
Worse                41     32     31
The same             45     46     48
DK/NA                 3      2      4
 
TREND: Do you think New York State's economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     Jan 26  Apr 07
                     2011    2009
 
Better               16       5
Worse                35      56
The same             46      37
DK/NA                 3       2
 
 
10. Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as; excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Excellent             4%     6%     3%     4%     4%     4%     5%
Good                 49     57     45     48     53     45     57
Not so good          30     22     35     29     27     33     27
Poor                 15     13     14     17     13     16     10
DK/NA                 2      2      2      1      2      2      0
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Excellent             3%     3%     7%
Good                 50     44     55
Not so good          27     36     26
Poor                 18     14     10
DK/NA                 2      2      2
 
TREND: Would you describe the state of your own personal finances these days as - excellent, good, not so good, or poor?
                     Jan 26  Apr 07  Feb 19  Dec 24  Jan 23  Nov 15
                     2011    2009    2009    2008    2002    2001
 
Excellent             4       6       4       5       9       8
Good                 49      48      44      43      53      59
Not so good          30      32      35      35      28      25
Poor                 15      13      15      16       8       6
DK/NA                 2       2       2       1       1       2
 
 
11. Do you think your personal finances are getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Better               13%    15%    14%    10%    16%    10%    14%
Worse                28     23     26     31     27     29     30
The same             58     61     59     58     57     59     55
DK/NA                 1      2      -      1      -      1      -
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Better               13%    14%    12%
Worse                27     30     26
The same             59     56     60
DK/NA                 1      1      1
 
TREND: Do you think your personal finances are getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same?
                     Jan 26  Apr 07
                     2011    2009
 
Better               13      10
Worse                28      28
The same             58      60
DK/NA                 1       2
 
 
12. How serious do you think New York State's budget problems are; very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Very serious         77%    81%    73%    79%    81%    75%    78%
Smwht serious        19     18     22     17     16     21     19
Not too serious       1      -      2      2      2      1      2
Not at all serious    1      1      1      -      -      1      -
DK/NA                 2      -      3      1      1      2      1
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Very serious         80%    74%    79%
Smwht serious        17     20     19
Not too serious       -      3      -
Not at all serious    1      -      -
DK/NA                 1      3      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?
                                                             VERY SERIOUS..
                                                             High    Low
                     Jan 26  Dec 09  Feb 04  Aug 18  Feb 18  Feb 04  Dec 18
                     2011    2010    2010    2009    2009    2010    2002
 
Very serious         77      78      81      65      69      81      48
Smwht serious        19      19      15      28      26      15      44
Not too serious       1       1       3       5       4       3       5
Not at all serious    1       1       1       1       -       1       1
DK/NA                 2       1       1       1       1       1       5
 
 
13. Do you think Governor Cuomo and the legislature will be able to solve New York State's budget problems or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Yes                  43%    36%    54%    37%    40%    46%    38%
No                   39     45     29     45     46     34     43
DK/NA                17     19     17     19     14     20     19
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  40%    43%    49%
No                   45     37     33
DK/NA                15     19     18
 
 
TREND: Do you think Governor Cuomo and the legislature will be able to solve New York State's budget problems or not?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  43      38
No                   39      46
DK/NA                17      16
 
 
14. To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer; raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Raising taxes        27%     8%    42%    22%    26%    28%    28%
Cutting programs/
 Services            60     82     43     66     64     57     64
DK/NA                13      9     15     12     10     15      8
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Raising taxes        17%    41%    21%
Cutting programs/
 Services            67     47     70
DK/NA                15     12      9
 
TREND: To balance the state budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer - raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09  Feb 04  Aug 18  Feb 18  Jan 15  Dec 24
                     2011    2010    2010    2009    2009    2009    2008
 
Raising taxes        27      30      30      33      34      30      36
Cutting services     60      56      58      54      51      56      53
DK/NA                13      15      12      13      15      14      11
 
 
15. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              45%    60%    33%    49%    48%    43%    39%
Oppose               47     33     57     44     47     47     56
DK/NA                 8      6     10      7      6     10      5
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              50%    36%    52%
Oppose               42     57     38
DK/NA                 8      7      9
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - layoffs for state employees?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Support              45      43
Oppose               47      52
DK/NA                 8       6
 
 
16. To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - furloughs for state employees?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              52%    56%    47%    57%    52%    53%    54%
Oppose               30     30     33     28     33     29     33
DK/NA                17     14     20     15     16     19     13
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              52%    47%    61%
Oppose               31     36     21
DK/NA                18     17     18
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose - furloughs for state employees?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Support              52      56
Oppose               30      32
DK/NA                17      13
 
 
17. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - a wage freeze for state workers?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              75%    83%    68%    78%    74%    76%    73%
Oppose               20     14     25     18     21     19     24
DK/NA                 5      3      7      3      5      6      2
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              78%    72%    74%
Oppose               17     23     20
DK/NA                 5      5      7
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose a wage freeze for state workers?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09  Feb 04  Dec 16
                     2011    2010    2010    2009
 
Support              75      72      75      68
Oppose               20      23      20      28
DK/NA                 5       5       5       5
 
 
18. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - reducing pension benefits for state workers?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              38%    47%    30%    42%    45%    32%    30%
Oppose               55     45     64     49     49     59     66
DK/NA                 7      9      6      8      6      9      3
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              41%    33%    43%
Oppose               52     59     51
DK/NA                 7      8      7
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - reducing pension benefits for state workers?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Support              38      37
Oppose               55      56
DK/NA                 7       7
 
 
19. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - cutting state aid to public schools?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              18%    26%     7%    26%    23%    14%    18%
Oppose               79     70     91     70     75     82     80
DK/NA                 3      4      2      4      2      3      2
 
                                          HvKidsIn
                     UpStat NYC    Sub    PubSch
 
Support              21%    13%    22%    15%
Oppose               76     84     75     84
DK/NA                 3      2      3      2
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose cutting state aid to public schools?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09  Feb 04
                     2011    2010    2010
 
Support              18      19      19
Oppose               79      78      78
DK/NA                 3       3       2
 
 
20. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - cutting state aid to your local public schools?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              18%    24%     7%    27%    23%    14%    18%
Oppose               79     74     91     69     74     84     79
DK/NA                 3      2      2      5      3      3      2
 
                                          HvKidsIn
                     UpStat NYC    Sub    PubSch
 
Support              21%    13%    22%    17%
Oppose               76     85     74     81
DK/NA                 3      2      4      2
 
 
21. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - cutting Medicaid, which is the government program which pays for health care for low income people?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              28%    44%    16%    29%    31%    25%    32%
Oppose               69     52     82     68     67     70     66
DK/NA                 3      4      3      3      2      4      2
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              33%    20%    31%
Oppose               64     77     64
DK/NA                 3      3      5
 
 
22. To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - increasing state taxes?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Support              32%    15%    43%    31%    34%    30%    38%
Oppose               66     82     54     67     65     66     62
DK/NA                 2      3      3      2      1      4      1
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Support              25%    37%    35%
Oppose               73     60     63
DK/NA                 2      3      2
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you support or oppose - increasing state taxes?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Support              32      31
Oppose               66      66
DK/NA                 2       4
 
 
23. To help balance the state budget, do you think the state will increase taxes or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Yes                  74%    76%    70%    75%    74%    74%    77%
No                   19     16     22     17     20     18     20
DK/NA                 7      7      8      8      6      9      3
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  77%    72%    71%
No                   16     20     23
DK/NA                 7      9      6
 
TREND: To help balance the state budget, do you think the state will increase taxes or not?
                     Jan 26  Dec 09
                     2011    2010
 
Yes                  74      82
No                   19      13
DK/NA                 7       5
 
 
24. Should there be a cap on how much property taxes can be raised annually in New York State or not?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Yes                  82%    90%    78%    83%    83%    82%    84%
No                   13      7     17     11     13     12     14
DK/NA                 5      3      5      6      4      6      2
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Yes                  85%    76%    88%
No                   11     17      9
DK/NA                 4      7      3
 
 
25. Historically, the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Assembly Speaker have made all the big decisions in Albany with little input from state legislators. With Andrew Cuomo as governor do you think that Albany's "three men in a room" decision-making will continue or that other legislators will be more involved?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Three men continues  29%    35%    18%    34%    37%    21%    33%
Other legislators
 involved            57     51     66     53     49     64     57
DK/NA                14     14     16     13     14     15     10
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Three men continue   33%    27%    23%
Other legislators
 involved            55     54     66
DK/NA                12     19     11
 
 
26. Do you think the public-employee unions have too much political power, too little political power, or about the right amount of political power?
                                                               Union
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    HsHolds
 
Too much             50%    64%    36%    56%    51%    48%    37%
Too little           11      4     14     10      7     14     14
About right          29     22     37     27     36     24     46
DK/NA                10     10     13      7      6     14      4
 
                     UpStat NYC    Sub
 
Too much             53%    45%    52%
Too little           10     14      7
About right          27     30     32
DK/NA                10     10     10