February 25, 1998 - Pataki Approval Jumps Past 3 - 1 To All-Time High, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; He Even Runs Strong Among Democrats
Gov. George Pataki's approval rating has jumped to 70 - 22 percent, topping his previous high of 62 - 30 percent approval rating, and he tops all potential Democratic rivals more than 2 - 1, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Matching Pataki's approval rating, a total of 73 percent of New York State voters are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with life in the state, while 27 percent are somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied, the independent Quinnipiac College Poll finds.

If Pataki faced his former running mate, Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross running as a Democrat, the Republican incumbent wins 59 - 26 percent. He easily tops the other possible Democratic challengers: ? Pataki over Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney Charles J. Hynes 60 - 23 percent; ? Pataki over former Long Island Assn. President James Larocca 61 - 18 percent; ? Pataki over New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone 60 - 23 percent; ? Pataki over former state Economic Development Chair Richard Kahan 62 - 17 percent.

In any of these matchups, Pataki gets 30 percent or more of Democratic votes.

"The election for Governor is nine months away, but the only movement is toward Pataki, whose approval rating and margin over Democratic challengers just keeps growing. At this point, he wipes out any of the potential challengers," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute. "The overwhelming leader for the Democratic nomination for Governor: Undecided. Among Democrats with a name, Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross does the best, but she's got problems. She's fairly well-known, but not all that well-liked."

By a 58 - 13 percent margin, New York voters have a favorable opinion of Pataki, with 24 percent mixed and 5 percent who say they haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

Among possible Democratic challengers, ratings are:
                        Favorable  Unfavorable  Mixed  No opinion
                        
Ross                    20         21           18     40
Hynes                   17          5            8     71
Vallone                 15          5           11     69
Larocca                  4          3            5     88
Kahan                    4          2            4     89



"Vallone is a citywide official. Hynes gets elected in Brooklyn. But they're unknown quantities to most New Yorkers. Kahan and Larocca are simply unknown," Carroll said.

Lt. Gov. Ross gets 18 percent in a Democratic primary, to 17 percent for Vallone, 12 percent for Hynes, 4 percent for LaRocca, 1 percent for Kahan -- and 40 percent undecided.

"New Yorker voters are unusually prudent when asked what to do with the budget surplus: 25 percent say improve services, but 32 percent say cut taxes and 40 percent say pay off some debt," Carroll said.

The quality of life got better in New York State in the last four years, according to 52 percent of voters, while 13 percent say it got worse and 33 percent say it's the same.

A total of 85 percent of New Yorkers rate their family financial situation as very good or fairly good, with similar responses from upstaters, New York City voters and suburbanites. But perceptions differ when voters look at the overall state economy:
  • 68 percent of upstaters say New York's economy is very good or fairly good, compared to 81 percent of city voters and 87 percent of suburban voters;
  • 43 percent of upstate voters say the economy has gotten better, compared to 55 percent of city voters and 59 percent of suburban voters.
From February 17 - 23, Quinnipiac College surveyed 1,326 New Yorkers who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling his job as Governor of New York?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 70% 76% 60% 74% 86% 55% 73% 62%

Disapprove 22 18 32 17 7 38 20 30

DK/NA 8 7 8 8 8 7 7 7



1A. Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve strongly 27% 30% 18% 35% 50% 12% 23% 22%

Approve smwht 43 46 43 40 35 43 50 40

Disapprove smwht 13 12 15 11 5 21 12 15

Disapprove strongly 9 5 16 6 1 17 8 15

DK/NA 8 7 8 8 8 7 7 7



4. Is your opinion of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 17% 5% 31% 17% 11% 23% 16% 17%

Unfavorable 5 2 6 6 6 2 6 6

Mixed 8 2 15 8 6 9 8 8

Hvn't hrd enough 71 90 47 68 76 66 69 69

Refused 1 1 - 1 1 - 1 1



5. Is your opinion of former Urban Development Corporation President Richard Kahan favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                         Dec 10
                   Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 4% 4% 5% 3% 5% 4% 3% 3%

Unfavorable 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 3

Mixed 4 4 5 5 4 4 4 5

Hvn't hrd enough 89 90 87 91 89 90 89 88

Refused 1 1 1 - - - 1 1



6. Is your opinion of former Long Island Association President James Larocca favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 4% 2% 2% 7% 6% 3% 3% 4%

Unfavorable 3 2 3 5 3 2 4 3

Mixed 5 4 3 8 5 4 5 4

Hvn't hrd enough 88 90 92 80 86 91 87 88

Refused 1 1 1 1 1 - 1 1



7. Is your opinion of Governor George Pataki favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 58% 63% 47% 64% 81% 37% 59% 50%

Unfavorable 13 9 21 10 2 26 12 21

Mixed 24 23 27 22 12 33 25 25

Hvn't hrd enough 5 5 5 3 4 4 4 4

Refused - - - - - - - 1



8. Is your opinion of Lieutenant Governor Betsey McCaughey Ross favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about her?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 20% 22% 17% 21% 17% 23% 21% 22%

Unfavorable 21 20 18 25 32 13 19 17

Mixed 18 18 19 18 15 20 19 21

Hvn't hrd enough 40 39 46 34 35 43 39 39

Refused 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1



9. Is your opinion of New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 15% 4% 27% 16% 13% 16% 15% 13%

Unfavorable 5 2 7 5 6 3 5 4

Mixed 11 4 20 11 7 14 12 10

Hvn't hrd enough 69 90 45 67 74 67 67 72

Refused 1 1 1 1 1 - 1 1



10. If the 1998 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were George Pataki the Republican, and Charles Hynes the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Pataki 60% 66% 45% 67% 90% 30% 63% 54%

Hynes 23 16 37 18 4 48 16 28

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 2 2 2 3 - 3 3 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 3 1 - 3 2 2

DK/NA 13 15 13 12 5 16 16 14



11. If the 1998 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were George Pataki the Republican, and Richard Kahan the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Pataki 62% 66% 49% 71% 92% 34% 64% 57%

Kahan 17 14 25 12 2 36 12 21

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 3 2 3 3 1 3 4 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 4 2 1 4 2 3

DK/NA 16 17 19 13 5 23 18 17



12. If the 1998 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were George Pataki the Republican, and James Larocca the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Pataki 61% 67% 50% 67% 91% 33% 64% 57%

Larocca 18 15 25 13 3 40 11 21

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 2 2 3 3 1 3 3 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 3 3 - 3 2 3

DK/NA 16 15 19 14 4 21 19 16



13. If the 1998 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were George Pataki the Republican, and Betsey McCaughey Ross the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Pataki 59% 62% 48% 68% 87% 36% 58% 54%

McCaughey Ross 26 25 33 20 8 46 24 29

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 2 1 3 3 - 2 3 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 1 4 1 - 4 2 3

DK/NA 10 11 13 7 4 11 13 12



14. If the 1998 election for Governor were being held today and the candidates were George Pataki the Republican, and Peter Vallone the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Pataki 60% 67% 44% 67% 89% 30% 63% 56%

Vallone 23 14 38 20 4 48 19 26

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 2 2 2 2 1 2 3 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 2 2 3 2 1 4 1 2

DK/NA 13 15 14 10 5 16 14 14



16. 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?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Very satisfied 13% 12% 11% 15% 24% 6% 12% 9%

Smwht satisfied 60 57 60 64 62 61 58 51

Smwht dissatisfied 20 22 20 17 10 24 22 27

Very dissatisfied 7 9 8 3 3 9 7 12

DK/NA 1 - 1 1 1 1 - 1



17. Over the last few years, do you feel that things in New York State have gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?

                                                                          Dec 10
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Better 52% 46% 57% 56% 70% 44% 50% 44%

Worse 13 17 12 8 5 17 15 20

Same 33 36 29 34 23 37 34 35

DK/NA 2 1 3 2 2 2 1 2



18. How much of the change do you think is due to the policies of Governor Pataki? A lot, some, only a little, or none at all?

                          Better  Worse


A lot 31% 36%

Some 52 35

Little 12 20

None 3 5

DK/NA 2 4



19. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling the state budget?

                                                                          Sep 24
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 51% 53% 44% 56% 70% 36% 49% 30%

Disapprove 34 36 35 28 20 46 34 54

DK/NA 15 11 21 16 10 18 17 16



20. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling crime?

                                                                          Sep 24
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 67% 66% 61% 76% 84% 56% 66% 56%

Disapprove 20 20 24 16 7 30 21 31

DK/NA 13 15 15 7 9 14 13 13



21. And do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling education?

                                                                          Sep 24
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 51% 61% 36% 52% 68% 35% 52% 41%

Disapprove 38 30 51 34 19 56 37 47

DK/NA 11 9 13 13 13 9 11 12



22. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling the environment?

                                                                          Sep 24
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 56% 58% 50% 60% 71% 45% 54% 51%

Disapprove 28 24 34 25 12 39 29 29

DK/NA 17 19 16 15 16 16 17 20



23. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling taxes?

                                                                          Sep 24
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 48% 52% 41% 52% 61% 40% 48% 34%

Disapprove 42 39 45 41 35 48 42 56

DK/NA 10 9 14 7 4 12 10 10



24. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling welfare and the poor?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Approve 47% 51% 37% 53% 65% 30% 50%

Disapprove 38 36 48 30 21 56 35

DK/NA 15 13 15 17 14 14 16



25. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling the economy and jobs?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Approve 59% 61% 51% 68% 78% 45% 59%

Disapprove 31 32 36 23 15 43 32

DK/NA 10 7 13 9 7 13 9



26. How would you rate the condition of New York State's economy these days? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very good 10% 4% 16% 12% 15% 7% 8%

Fairly good 67 64 65 75 70 67 68

Fairly bad 18 25 12 11 12 20 18

Very bad 4 6 4 1 2 5 5

DK/NA 2 1 3 1 1 2 2



27. Over the last few years do you think New York State's economy has gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Better 51% 43% 55% 59% 66% 42% 51%

Worse 13 19 10 7 7 15 13

Same 35 37 33 32 26 41 34

DK/NA 2 1 2 1 1 2 1



28. How would you rate your family's financial situation? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very good 17% 15% 18% 19% 24% 14% 17%

Fairly good 68 69 65 69 67 67 69

Fairly bad 10 11 10 8 6 14 9

Very bad 3 4 5 1 2 4 5

DK/NA 2 1 2 2 2 1 1



29. Over the last few years has your family's financial situation gotten better, gotten worse, or stayed about the same?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Better 36% 33% 37% 43% 45% 32% 36%

Worse 15 15 16 12 10 18 14

Same 47 50 47 44 43 49 49

DK/NA 2 2 1 2 1 1 1



30. New York State currently has a budget surplus. Do you think the budget surplus should be used to improve services, cut taxes, or pay off some of the debt?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     


Improve services 25% 18% 38% 20% 15% 37% 22%

Cut taxes 32 30 30 37 39 26 32

Pay of debt 40 48 28 40 43 35 43

DK/NA 4 4 4 3 3 2 4



46. If the 1998 Democratic primary for Governor were being held today and the candidates were Charles Hynes, Richard Kahan, James Larocca, Betsey McCaughey Ross, and Peter Vallone for whom would you vote?

                       Registered  Dec 10
                       Democrats   1997


Hynes 12% 13%

Kahan 1 1

Larocca 4 3

McCaughey Ross 18 26

Vallone 17 17

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 3 2

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 4 5

DK/NA 40 33