July 15, 1998 - Vallone Is Leader Among Likely Dem Voters, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; But Support For All Candidates Is Soft
New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone has a 34 - 23 percent lead over Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross among registered Democrats likely to vote in the September 15 Primary for Governor, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today. Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes gets 16 percent, followed by former Long Island Assn. President James Larocca with 5 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

Only 27 percent of likely Democratic voters are "pretty sure" they will stay with the candidate they named, while 72 percent say they might change their mind.

There is little sign of a gender gap as Vallone leads Ross 37 - 20 percent among men and 32 - 24 percent among women.

"It looks as if regular Democrats prefer their longtime fellow regular, Peter Vallone. Betsy McCaughey Ross, a recent convert to the Democratic ranks, makes more of an impact in the general public than on the Democrats measured by Quinnipiac College as likely to come to the polls September 15," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"Narrow the list to likely voters -- based on prior voter behavior and intention to vote this time -- and Vallone takes the lead.

"Still, there's a substantial percentage of likely voters who haven't made up their minds, enough to change the results if they swing heavily against Vallone," Carroll added.

Vallone's favorability rating is 34 - 8 percent, with 21 percent mixed and 36 percent who say they haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

Among other Democratic contenders, ratings are:
                        Favorable  Unfavorable  Mixed  No opinion
                        
Ross                    21         29           30     20
Hynes                   26          8           18     48
Larocca                  6          6            8     79


"Vallone's image is on the fuzzy side, with many Democrats who don't know much about him, but it's positive," Carroll said. "More people know Betsy Ross, but her numbers are on the unfavorable side."

Looking at their own party organization, 40 percent of likely Democratic voters have a favorable opinion, while 8 percent have an unfavorable opinion; 45 percent have a mixed opinion and 6 percent haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

Looking at the Republican party, 7 percent of likely Democrat voters have a favorable opinion, while 52 percent have an unfavorable opinion; 30 percent have a mixed opinion and 10 percent haven't heard enough to form an opinion.

"New York Democrats are lukewarm about their own party, with only 40 percent looking favorably at the organization that gave us Al Smith and Franklin Roosevelt," Carroll said.

"Only 21 percent of Democrats are `hard core,' with both a favorable opinion of their own party and an unfavorable opinion of the GOP," Carroll added.

But 72 percent of likely Democratic voters say their party cares about the needs and problems of people like them, while 23 percent say the party does not care about them.

From July 7 - 13, Quinnipiac College surveyed 487 New York State likely Democratic voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.4 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. For additional data: www.quinnipiac.edu

1. How much attention have you been paying to this year's campaign for Governor? A lot, some, only a little, or none at all?

                          Likely
                          Voters


A lot 23%

Some 42

Only a little 25

None at all 10

DK/NA -



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

                          Likely
                          Voters


Favorable 26%

Unfavorable 8

Mixed 18

Haven't heard enough 48

Refused 1



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

                          Likely
                          Voters


Favorable 6%

Unfavorable 6

Mixed 8

Haven't heard enough 79

Refused 1



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

                          Likely
                          Voters


Favorable 21%

Unfavorable 29

Mixed 30

Haven't heard enough 20

Refused -



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


Favorable 34%

Unfavorable 8

Mixed 21

Haven't heard enough 36

Refused 1



6. If the Democratic primary election for governor were being held today and the candidates were Charles Hynes, James Larocca, Betsy McCaughey Ross, and Peter Vallone, for whom would you vote?
                                     
                          Likely  Likely Voters   
                          Voters   Men     Wom


Hynes 16% 19% 14%

Larocca 5 8 4

McCaughey Ross 23 20 24

Vallone 34 37 32

Someone else (Vol.) 1 2 1

DK/NA 21 14 24



7. (If express preference) Is your mind made up or do you think you might change your mind before the primary election in September?

                          Likely
                          Voters


Yes, made up 27%

No, might change 72

DK/NA 1



11. Who do you think will win the Democratic primary election for Governor? Hynes, Larocca, McCaughey Ross, or Vallone?

                          Likely
                          Voters


Hynes 11%

Larocca 3

McCaughey Ross 13

Vallone 35

DK/NA 37



25. Is your opinion of the New York State Democratic party favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about it?

                          Likely
                          Voters


Favorable 40%

Unfavorable 8

Mixed 45

Haven't heard enough 6

Refused -



26. Is your opinion of the New York State Republican party favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about it?

                          Likely
                          Voters


Favorable 7%

Unfavorable 52

Mixed 30

Haven't heard enough 10

Refused 1



29. Do you think the New York State Democratic party cares about the needs and problems of people like you or not?

                          Likely
                          Voters


Yes 72%

No 23

DK/NA 5