December 18, 2002 - Little Pain For Legislators Who Back Commuter Tax, New York Voters Tell Quinnipiac University Poll; Property Tax Is One New Yorkers Most Love To Hate
Only 26 percent of New York State voters say they would punish a state legislator who supports a commuter tax on suburban residents who work in New York City, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. By a slim 51 - 45 percent majority, voters statewide support such a commuter tax.

Among upstate voters, 24 percent are less likely to vote for a legislator who backs the commuter tax, while 16 percent are more likely to back that legislator and 56 percent say support for the commuter tax makes no difference in how they vote, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.

Fifty percent of suburban voters are less likely to vote for a legislator who backs the commuter tax, while 41 percent say it wouldn't make a difference and 6 percent say they are more likely to vote for a pro-tax legislator.

In New York City, 29 percent are more likely to vote for a pro-tax legislator, with 16 percent less likely and 52 percent saying it wouldn't make a difference.

"Upstate legislators get a free pass on the New York City commuter tax. Their constituents don't pay it, and most would not punish their legislator for a 'yes' vote," said Maurice Carroll director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"But suburban legislators better stick to the political truism and vote their districts. If they don't protect their neighbors from the New York City tax collector, they'll suffer on election day," Carroll added.

"The commuter tax is an issue where geography means more than overall numbers. Predictably, there's support in the city and opposition in suburbia. The interesting fact is that upstate voters, who tend to be more anti-tax conservative, come down on the side of New York City."

Upstate urban voters split on the commuter tax 48 - 47 percent, while other upstate voters support it 53 - 41 percent. Suburban voters oppose the commuter tax 67 - 30 percent, balanced by New York City voters who support it 63 - 35 percent.

Forty percent of New York State voters dislike their local property tax the most, followed by 17 percent each who list the federal income tax and the state sales tax, 10 percent who list the Social Security tax and 8 percent who list the state income tax.

"The property tax - which people pay all at once or in big chunks - is the tax New Yorkers hate the most," Carroll said.

New York State's budget problems are "very serious," 48 percent of voters say, while 44 percent say they are "somewhat serious."

Cut services to balance the budget, 52 percent of New York State voters say, while 34 percent say raise taxes. Republicans are 64 - 25 percent in favor of cutting services and Democrats are 44 - 41 percent for raising taxes. Independent voters are 54 - 33 percent in favor of cutting services.

From December 9 - 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 999 New York State registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

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

For additional data -- www.quinnipiac.edu or call (203) 582-5201

18. Which tax do you dislike the most -- Federal income tax, federal social Security tax, state income tax, state sales tax or local property tax?

                                                                    Union
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     HsHolds


Federal income tax 17% 15% 20% 15% 17% 17% 19% Federal Social Security tax 10 9 12 7 8 12 8 State income tax 8 10 7 8 9 7 6 State sales tax 17 16 18 20 20 15 21 Local property tax 40 43 36 45 38 42 41 DK/NA 7 8 7 5 8 7 5

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Federal income tax 25% 12% 16% 20% 13% Federal Social Security tax 10 9 9 12 8 State income tax 10 14 13 7 3 State sales tax 19 18 18 15 20 Local property tax 33 43 40 36 48 DK/NA 4 5 5 9 9



19. 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% 2% 0% 1% 1% 1% 1% Good 25 36 21 20 28 22 24 Not so good 51 49 49 56 48 53 46 Poor 23 13 29 22 22 23 28 DK/NA 1 - 1 - - 1 1

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Excellent 4% 1% 2% - - Good 31 24 26 14 41 Not so good 41 52 49 57 43 Poor 24 21 22 29 15 DK/NA - 2 1 - 1



20. 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 48% 37% 54% 51% 48% 48% 54% Smwht serious 44 55 38 43 44 44 41 Not too serious 5 4 6 3 4 5 4 Not at all serious 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 DK/NA 3 2 2 2 3 2 1

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Very serious 44% 43% 43% 61% 37% Smwht serious 48 49 49 30 56 Not too serious 5 4 4 6 4 Not at all serious - 1 1 1 - DK/NA 2 3 3 2 3



21. Who or what do you think is most responsible for New York States's budget deficit -- poor economic conditions, Governor Pataki,the September 11th terrorist attacks or the state legislature?
                                                                    Union
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     HsHolds


Economic conditions 33% 29% 33% 40% 34% 32% 30% Governor Pataki 10 5 13 10 12 9 9 September 11th 32 38 34 24 25 38 33 State legislature 18 21 12 22 21 15 20 OTHER(VOL) 3 3 3 2 4 1 6 DK/NA 5 4 5 3 4 6 2

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Economic conditions 23% 36% 32% 29% 41% Governor Pataki 7 10 9 13 6 September 11th 33 18 23 42 31 State legislature 26 26 26 9 18 OTHER(VOL) 2 5 4 3 - DK/NA 10 5 6 4 4

22. (if 'state legislature' q21) Is it mainly the Republicans in the state legislature or the Democrats, who are more responsible for the budget deficit?

                    Responded
                    "State leg." Q21 


Republicans 32% Democrats 28 DK/NA 40



23. To balance the state budget next year, if you had to choose, which would you prefer raising taxes to keep state services at their current level or cutting state services to keep taxes at their current level?
                                                                    Union
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     HsHolds


Raising taxes 34% 25% 44% 33% 32% 36% 33% Cutting services 52 64 41 54 59 46 54 DK/NA 13 11 15 12 9 17 13

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Raising taxes 35% 32% 33% 39% 30% Cutting services 50 56 54 46 59 DK/NA 15 11 13 15 12



24. Do you think that New York State suburban residents who work in New York City should pay a New York City income tax to help cover the cost of city services or not?
                                                                    Union
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     HsHolds


Yes 51% 44% 55% 54% 52% 50% 53% No 45 52 41 43 43 47 45 DK/NA 4 4 4 3 4 4 2

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

Yes 48% 53% 52% 63% 30% No 47 41 42 35 67 DK/NA 5 6 6 3 2



25. If your state legislator voted for a new commuter tax on New York State suburban residents who work in New York City would that make you more likely to vote for that state legislator, less likely to vote for that state legislator, or wouldn't it make much difference?
                                                                    Union
                    Tot     Rep     Dem     Ind     Men     Wom     HsHolds


More likely 19% 17% 22% 18% 22% 16% 19% Less likely 26 36 19 28 24 28 29 Wouldn't make difference 51 44 54 54 50 52 48 DK/NA 4 3 5 1 4 4 4

UpState..... UpState Urban Othr total NYC Sub

More likely 14% 17% 16% 29% 6% Less likely 28 22 24 16 50 Wouldn't make difference 53 57 56 52 41 DK/NA 4 4 4 3 3