March 25, 1998 - Life Without Parole Is Harsher Than Death Penalty, New York Voters Tell Quinnipiac College Poll; Clinton Approval Is Up, Morality Rating Is Down
A sentence of life in prison without parole is harsher than the death penalty, according to 54 percent of New York State voters, while 41 percent believe the death penalty is harsher, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

Asked what the penalty should be for a person convicted of first degree murder, 44 percent say life without parole and 13 percent want life with the chance of parole -- a total of 57 percent for life options -- while 38 percent opt for the death penalty.

By a similar margin, 38 percent of voters say the death penalty helps prevent murders, while 58 percent say it has no effect. Despite these misgivings, 60 percent of New Yorkers say they could vote for a death sentence if serving on a jury, while 33 percent say they could not.

"Voters are not convinced the death penalty is the best way to punish killers. And most think life in prison is a harsher sentence," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute. "But, as jurors, almost 2 -1 say they could vote for a death sentence."

By a 73 - 25 percent margin, New Yorkers approve of the job Bill Clinton is doing as President, up from 64 - 32 percent in a September 19, 1996, Quinnipiac College Poll.

By a negative 41 - 49 percent margin, New Yorkers say Clinton "shares the moral values most Americans try to live by," down from 58 - 38 percent in September, 1996.

Clinton can be trusted to keep his word, voters say by a 62 - 33 percent margin, up from 48 - 46 percent in September, '96. And by a 76 - 22 percent margin, voters say Clinton understands the needs and problems of the average American family, up from 69 - 29 percent.

"Is it a reaction to a press feeding frenzy? Is it `rallying around' an embattled leader? Or is it the economy, stupid? Whatever the reason, New Yorkers' approval of President Clinton is overwhelming," Carroll said. "But they don't give Clinton good grades for morals."

Gov. George Pataki's approval continues in the 3 - 1 range, at 69 - 24 percent, from the same voters who give Clinton a 73 - 25 percent approval.

Facing Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross running as a Democrat, the Republican incumbent wins 57 - 30 percent. He easily tops the other possible Democratic challengers:
  • Pataki over Kings County (Brooklyn) District Attorney Charles J. Hynes 60 - 25 percent;
  • Pataki over former Long Island Assn. President James Larocca 63 - 19 percent;
  • Pataki over New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone 58 - 26 percent;
  • Pataki over former state Economic Development Chair Richard Kahan 62 - 19 percent.
With no opponent mentioned, New Yorkers believe 64 - 26 percent that Pataki deserves to be reelected.

By a 53 - 15 percent margin, New York voters have a favorable opinion of Pataki, with 26 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                    18         21           20     41
Hynes                   14          6           10     70
Vallone                 14          4           10     70
Larocca                  4          3            6     86
Kahan                    4          2            4     89



"Leave out Democratic names and Gov. Pataki still wins big. Does he deserve reelection? Overwhelmingly, New Yorkers say he does," Carroll said.

Lt. Gov. Ross gets 27 percent in a Democratic primary, to 16 percent each for Vallone and Hynes, 3 percent for LaRocca, 1 percent for Kahan -- and 30 percent undecided.

From March 17 - 23, Quinnipiac College surveyed 1,183 New Yorkers who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 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. Additional data available.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way George Pataki is handling his job as Governor of New York?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve 69% 74% 59% 72% 85% 58% 69% 70%

Disapprove 24 20 32 20 10 34 24 22

DK/NA 7 6 9 7 5 8 7 8



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve strongly 26% 29% 20% 28% 48% 13% 22% 27%

Approve smwht 43 44 40 44 37 45 47 43

Disapprove smwht 12 9 16 11 6 16 11 13

Disapprove strongly 12 11 16 10 3 18 13 9

DK/NA 7 6 9 7 5 8 7 8



4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling his job as President?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


Approve 73% 69% 82% 69% 49% 90% 76% 64%

Disapprove 25 29 14 30 49 9 21 32

DK/NA 2 2 3 - 2 1 3 8



4a. Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Approve strongy 47% 41% 56% 46% 25% 65% 48%

Approve smwht 26 28 26 23 25 26 28

Disapprove smwht 6 7 4 8 11 4 4

Disapprove strongly 19 23 10 23 38 5 17

DK/NA 2 2 3 - 2 1 3



5. How much attention have you been paying to this year's campaigns for Governor and United States Senator? A lot, some, only a little or none at all?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


A lot 18% 15% 20% 21% 16% 21% 18%

Some 36 38 36 36 37 36 37

Only a little 30 33 27 28 32 30 27

None at all 15 15 16 16 15 12 18

DK/NA - - - - - - -



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Favorable 14% 5% 25% 15% 9% 19% 12% 17%

Unfavorable 6 2 8 10 9 3 8 5

Mixed 10 4 17 12 8 13 11 8

Hvn't hrd enough 70 89 50 63 75 65 69 71

Refused - - 1 - - - - 1



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


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

Unfavorable 2 2 2 3 3 1 3 2

Mixed 4 4 4 5 3 7 4 4

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

Refused 1 - 1 1 - 1 1 1



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Favorable 4% 2% 4% 8% 4% 4% 5% 4%

Unfavorable 3 3 3 4 3 3 3 3

Mixed 6 5 3 12 6 7 6 5

Hvn't hrd enough 86 89 90 75 87 84 87 88

Refused 1 1 - 2 - 1 1 1



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Favorable 53% 57% 47% 55% 75% 38% 52% 58%

Unfavorable 15 11 23 14 3 24 17 13

Mixed 26 28 25 24 16 32 27 24

Hvn't hrd enough 5 4 5 7 6 5 4 5

Refused - - 1 - - - - -



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Favorable 18% 18% 17% 20% 14% 22% 19% 20%

Unfavorable 21 18 22 24 26 17 21 21

Mixed 20 24 16 17 19 19 22 18

Hvn't hrd enough 41 40 43 38 40 41 38 40

Refused 1 - 1 - 1 1 - 1



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Favorable 14% 3% 30% 15% 14% 18% 12% 15%

Unfavorable 4 3 7 4 4 4 5 5

Mixed 10 4 17 12 6 12 11 11

Hvn't hrd enough 70 90 45 69 75 65 72 69

Refused - - 1 - - 1 - 1



12. 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?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Pataki 60% 66% 47% 65% 90% 36% 62% 60%

Hynes 25 17 41 21 4 50 19 23

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

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

DK/NA 11 13 11 8 5 10 15 13



13. 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?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Pataki 62% 66% 53% 67% 90% 42% 62% 62%

Kahan 19 15 27 16 3 38 14 17

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

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

DK/NA 14 15 17 11 6 15 18 16



14. 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?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Pataki 63% 68% 52% 67% 89% 43% 64% 61%

Larocca 19 15 26 16 3 38 14 18

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

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

DK/NA 12 12 15 10 6 13 16 16



15. 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 hom would you vote?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Pataki 57% 60% 51% 58% 81% 36% 59% 59%

McCaughey Ross 30 27 34 29 11 48 28 26

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

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

DK/NA 9 9 10 8 6 10 9 10



16. 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?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Pataki 58% 67% 43% 62% 86% 36% 60% 60%

Vallone 26 16 42 23 5 50 19 23

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

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

DK/NA 12 13 13 11 7 11 15 13



17. Thinking about the job George Pataki has done as governor, do you think he deserves to be re-elected or do you think he doesn't deserve to be re-elected?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Deserves to be re- elected 64% 69% 52% 68% 84% 46% 66%

Doesn't deserve to be re-elected 26 22 35 23 9 43 23

DK/NA 10 9 13 8 7 11 11



18. 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?

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Very satisfied 12% 10% 15% 12% 18% 10% 11% 13%

Smwht satisfied 55 52 53 64 61 53 54 60

Smwht dissatisfied 23 26 21 20 14 27 26 20

Very dissatisfied 9 12 9 4 7 10 9 7

DK/NA 1 - 2 - - 1 1 1



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Better 50% 39% 56% 58% 60% 42% 50% 52%

Worse 14 21 10 7 10 16 13 13

Same 35 39 31 32 30 40 34 33

DK/NA 2 1 3 2 - 3 3 2



20.(If changed) 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 28% 34%

Some 53 40

Only a little 13 18

None at all 4 6

DK/NA 2 2



21.(If changed) Whose policies do you think are most responsible for the change? Governor Pataki's, President Clinton's, or the United States Congresses'?

                          Better  Worse


Pataki's 43% 35%

Clinton's 24 10

Congresses' 20 37

Other/Someone else (Vol.) 4 7

DK/NA 8 12



22. What do you think are the most important problems facing New York State today?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind
Crime/Violence            17%     11%     25%     19%     17%     17%     17%
Drugs                      7       5       9       8       5       7       7
Youth crime/Violence/Gangs 1       -       1       1       -       1       1
Guns/Gun control           -       -       -       -       -       1       -
More police                1       -       4       -       1       2       1
Police brutality           1       -       1       1       -       1       -
Police corruption          -       -       1       -       -       -       -
Death penalty              -       -       -       1       1       1       -
Criminal justice system    2       1       3       1       2       3       1
Economy                   12      20       3       8      12      11      12
Unemployment/Jobs         22      28      19      14      24      19      21
Cost of living             2       2       2       1       1       1       3
High cost electricity      3       2       -       8       3       3       2
Cities/Urban decay         1       -       1       -       -       1       1
Taxes                     22      30      10      26      27      18      23
Federal income tax         -       -       -       -       -       1       -
State income tax           6       8       4       5       7       5       6
Sales tax                  2       3       2       2       3       1       2
Gas tax                    1       1       -       1       1       1       -
Local property tax        11      12       4      19      14       7      13
Budget/Deficit             3       3       2       2       3       2       2
Government spending        1       1       1       1       1       1       1
Spending priorities        -       1       -       1       1       1       -
Poverty/Homelessness       6       3      11       5       3       8       7
Housing costs/Availability 3       1       6       3       1       4       3
Overcrowding               -       -       1       1       -       1       -
Rent control/Stabilization -       -       -       1       -       1       -
Welfare                   12      12      11      12      15       8      12
Class inequality/
  Income disparity         1       1       2       1       -       2       1
Budget cuts/Cuts in 
  services                 1       -       1       -       -       2       -
Immigration                1       -       2       1       -       2       1
Lack of ethics/Morality/
  Responsibility           1       1       2       1       1       1       1
Family breakdown/
  Family values            1       1       1       -       1       1       -
Children's issues          2       1       2       4       1       4       1
Healthcare/Costs/Ins.      6       5       7       6       6       7       6
Medicare                   1       1       3       -       2       2       -
Abortion                   -       -       -       1       1       1       -
Social Security            1       1       1       1       1       1       1
Elderly                    2       1       1       3       1       1       1
Education                 26      21      32      26      23      28      26
College tuition            1       2       1       1       1       2       1
Funding public schools     2       2       3       3       1       4       2
Quality of life            -       -       -       1       -       -       1
Environment/Pollution      7       5       7      11       6       7      10
Casinos                    -       1       -       -       -       -       1
Racism/Race relations      1       1       3       -       -       2       1
Lack of mass transit/
  Public trans.            2       -       5       2       1       4       2
Traffic                    -       -       1       -       1       -       -
Auto insurance             -       -       1       -       1       -       -
Roads/Highways             4       3       4       6       6       2       5
Politicians/Gov            2       3       2       2       3       1       3
Congress                   -       -       1       -       -       -       1
Other                      6       8       6       4       7       5       8
DK/NA                      6       5       8       5       4       7       6




23. And what do you think is the most important problem facing New York State today?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind
Crime/Violence             7%      6%      9%      7%      6%      6%      8%
Drugs                      3       2       3       3       3       3       2
Youth crime/Violence/Gangs -       -       1       -       1       -       1
Criminal justice system    1       -       1       -       1       -       1
Economy                    8      14       2       5       8       9       7
Unemployment/Jobs         11      16      10       5      13      11      10
Cost of living             1       -       1       1       -       1       1
High cost Electricity      -       -       -       1       -       -       1
Cities/Urban decay         -       -       1       -       -       -       1
Taxes                     11      16       6      12      13      10      12
State income tax           2       2       1       2       2       2       1
Local property tax         3       3       1       8       5       1       4
Budget/Deficit             2       2       2       1       2       1       2
Government spending        -       -       -       -       1       -       -
Poverty/Homelessness       2       1       3       1       1       3       2
Housing costs/
  Availability             1       -       1       1       -       1       1
Rent control/Stabilization -       -       -       1       -       1       -
Welfare                    4       4       2       4       5       2       5
Class inequality/
  Income disparity         1       -       1       1       -       2       1
Budget cuts/Cuts in
  services                 -       -       -       -       -       -       1
Immigration                1       -       1       1       -       1       1
Lack of ethics/Morality/
  Responsibility           -       -       1       -       -       1       -
Family breakdown/
  Family values            1       1       1       -       1       2       -
Children's issues          1       -       -       2       1       1       -
Healthcare/Costs/Ins.      4       3       4       4       4       4       4
Abortion                   1       -       -       1       1       -       -
Social Security            -       -       -       -       -       1       -
Elderly                    1       -       -       3       1       1       1
Education                 17      11      22      19      15      20      17
College tuition            1       1       1       -       -       1       -
Funding public schools     -       -       -       -       -       1       -
Environment/Pollution      2       1       3       1       1       1       2
Racism/Race relations      -       -       1       -       -       1       -
Roads/Highways             1       -       -       2       1       -       1
Politicians/Government     1       1       -       1       1       -       1
Other                      2       2       3       1       2       1       3
DK/NA                      9       9      13       5       8      10       8




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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve 63% 64% 57% 69% 77% 54% 61% 67%

Disapprove 23 22 30 18 13 31 25 20

DK/NA 13 14 13 13 10 14 14 13



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve 47% 53% 36% 49% 63% 38% 43% 51%

Disapprove 39 33 48 38 23 49 42 38

DK/NA 14 14 15 13 14 14 15 11



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve 45% 49% 38% 46% 58% 36% 44% 48%

Disapprove 46 42 50 48 34 55 46 42

DK/NA 9 9 12 6 8 9 10 10



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

                                                                          Feb 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1998


Approve 56% 54% 50% 67% 73% 45% 55% 59%

Disapprove 34 39 39 22 22 44 34 31

DK/NA 9 7 11 11 5 11 11 10



30. Is your opinion of President Bill Clinton favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


Favorable 57% 51% 66% 54% 35% 75% 58% 52%

Unfavorable 23 27 14 29 45 7 21 24

Mixed 19 20 18 16 18 17 19 22

Hvn't hrd enough 1 1 1 - 1 - 1 1

REFUSED - - 1 - - - - -



41. Do you think Bill Clinton shares the moral values most Americans try to live by, or doesn't he?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


Yes shares values 41% 37% 50% 36% 24% 54% 40% 58%

No doesn't share values 49 52 38 55 70 34 47 38

DK/NA 11 11 11 9 5 12 13 4



42. Do you think Bill Clinton can be trusted to keep his word as President, or not?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


Yes trusted 62% 56% 71% 60% 39% 81% 62% 48%

No not trusted 33 38 25 36 58 15 31 46

DK/NA 5 6 5 4 3 4 7 6



43. Do you think Bill Clinton understands the needs and problems of the average American family or not?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


Yes understands 76% 71% 83% 76% 62% 92% 73% 69%

No doesn't understand 22 27 16 21 37 7 24 29

DK/NA 2 2 1 2 2 1 3 2



44. Compared to most people in public life, do you think Bill Clinton has more honesty and integrity, less honesty and integrity, or about the same amount?

                                                                          Sep 19
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1996


More honesty, integrity 9% 9% 11% 7% 4% 13% 9% 9%

Less honesty, integrity 28 33 19 31 51 13 25 25

About the same amount 61 57 67 60 44 73 65 65

DK/NA 2 2 3 2 2 2 1 1



48.(If Democrat) 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 Democrats only
                                                                         Feb 25
                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Men     Wom     1998


Hynes 16% 6% 20% 21% 20% 13% 12%

Kahan 1 - 1 1 1 1 1

Larocca 3 3 1 5 3 2 4

McCaughey Ross 27 39 19 23 24 29 18

Vallone 16 5 26 13 18 15 17

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 4 7 2 3 5 3 3

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) 4 3 2 6 4 3 4

DK/NA 30 36 28 27 25 34 40



56. Should the punishment for most people convicted of first degree murder generally be the death penalty, life imprisonment with no chance for parole, or life imprisonment with a chance for parole?

                                                                           Sep 24
                     Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997




Death penalty 38% 43% 27% 43% 53% 24% 39% 37%

Life imprisonment with no chance for parole 44 41 50 43 36 52 44 45

Life imprisonment with a chance for parole 13 12 18 10 7 19 13 12

DK/NA 5 4 6 4 4 5 3 5



57. Do you think having a death penalty on the books in New York State helps prevent murders or not?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Yes 38% 37% 37% 42% 52% 33% 34%

No 58 58 60 56 43 65 61

DK/NA 4 6 3 2 5 2 5



58. Do you think that if you were on a jury, you could ever vote to sentence someone to death or not?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Yes 60% 65% 49% 65% 71% 48% 66%

No 33 30 43 27 21 45 30

DK/NA 7 6 8 8 8 7 5



59. Which do you think would be a harsher punishment, to be executed, or to spend the rest of your life in prison without any hope of parole?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Execution 41% 41% 36% 48% 50% 35% 42%

Life without parole 54 54 58 48 46 60 53

DK/NA 5 5 6 4 3 5 6