December 11, 1997 - D'Amato Begins Election Year With A Bounce-Back, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; Voters Oppose Teacher Tenure, Back Merit Pay
Sen. Alfonse D'Amato's approval rating stands at 46 - 43 percent among New York State voters, but he still trails potential Democratic challenger Geraldine Ferraro 52 - 38 percent in his 1998 reelection bid, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today.

D'Amato's approval rating, a statistical tie, has been edging up since a low of 33 - 58 percent in a June 20, 1996, poll by the independent Quinnipiac College.

If the 1998 Senate election were held today, New York City Public Advocate Mark Green would edge out D'Amato 46 - 41 percent. D'Amato would squeak by another possible Democratic challenger, Brooklyn Congressman Charles Schumer, 45 - 40 percent.

Ferraro leads the pack in a possible Democratic primary with 48 percent, followed by Green with 25 percent and Schumer with 12 percent.

"Talk about timing: As he enters his reelection year, Sen. D'Amato squeaks by with his first positive job approval rating since 1994," said Maurice Carroll, Director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute. "The numbers show D'Amato edging out Rep. Charles Schumer; losing narrowly to Public Advocate Mark Green, and losing big to Geraldine Ferraro.

"No doubt, part of what we see here is name recognition. Even so, Ferraro holds a handsome lead among the three Democrats considering a run against D'Amato."

New York's senior Senator, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, enjoys a 59 - 22 percent approval rating and a 49 - 13 percent favorability, with 23 percent mixed and 14 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion.

D'Amato's favorability also has bounced back, to 35 - 36 percent, with 23 percent mixed and 6 percent who say they haven't heard enough to form an opinion. Among possible Democratic challengers, ratings are:
                        Favorable  Unfavorable  Mixed  No opinion	
Ferraro                 42         19           25     13
Green                   32          6           10     51
Schumer                 17          5           11     66


New York voters oppose, 58 - 36 percent, the idea of giving public school teachers tenure. By a 67 - 28 percent margin, they oppose giving public school principals tenure.

A total of 63 percent find "very convincing" or "somewhat convincing" the argument that tenure makes teachers less accountable. A total of 45 percent find "very convincing" or "somewhat convincing" the case that tenure allows teachers more independence and creativity.

By a 73 - 23 percent margin, voters support the idea of merit pay for teachers who do an outstanding job.

Given three options on the issue of school choice:
  • 40 percent of voters support a voucher system, where parents get a publicly funded voucher to send their child to the public or private school of their choice;
  • 36 percent say parents should be allowed to choose any public school in their school district;
  • 22 percent say parents should send their children to the public school assigned by their local school board.
By a 46 - 39 percent margin, with 16 percent undecided, New York voters believe teachers' unions play a positive, rather than negative role in improving education.

"New Yorkers still like teachers' unions, but on the two issues where Sen. D'Amato has hammered them -- teacher tenure and merit pay -- D'Amato's on the winning side," Carroll said. "A total of 76 percent of voters want some form of school choice, with the biggest group opting for vouchers and the option of sending their kids to private schools."

From December 2 - 8, Quinnipiac College surveyed 1,048 New Yorkers who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 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.

TREND: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alfonse D'Amato is handling his job as United States Senator?
                           Approve  Disapprove  DK/NA


December 11, 1997 46% 43% 10% September 25, 1997 42 47 11 July 23, 1997 43 48 9 April 23, 1997 42 47 12 March 5, 1997 40 50 10 September 19, 1996 32 56 12 June 20, 1996 33 58 9 April 25, 1996 37 53 10 March 4, 1996 34 55 11 November 6, 1995 39 48 13 May 4, 1995 36 53 11 April 6, 1994 47 41 12



2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Daniel Patrick Moynihan is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 59% 61% 60% 53% 56% 66% 56% 62% Disapprove 22 17 20 30 23 18 23 21 DK/NA 20 21 20 16 21 16 21 18



2a. Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve strongly 25% 22% 30% 23% 19% 32% 23% 24%

Approve smwht 34 40 30 30 36 34 33 38

Disapprove smwht 12 10 10 18 12 10 14 10

Disapprove strongly 10 8 10 12 11 8 9 10

DK/NA 20 21 20 16 21 16 21 18



3. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Alfonse D'Amato is handling his job as United States Senator?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve 46% 48% 46% 45% 64% 39% 40% 42%

Disapprove 43 40 45 47 27 53 49 47

DK/NA 10 12 9 9 10 7 12 11



3a. Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Approve strongly 17% 16% 17% 20% 27% 11% 15% 13%

Approve smwht 29 32 29 25 36 29 24 29

Disapprove smwht 13 14 8 16 11 12 14 16

Disapprove strongly 31 26 36 31 16 41 35 32

DK/NA 10 12 9 9 10 7 12 11



28. Is your opinion of United States Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 49% 52% 51% 41% 41% 58% 49% 52%

Unfavorable 13 9 11 20 17 8 14 13

Mixed 23 25 16 27 29 19 21 20

Hvn't hrd enough 14 12 20 11 12 14 15 14

Refused 1 1 1 2 2 1 1 1



29. Is your opinion of United States Senator Alfonse D'Amato favorable unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 35% 34% 37% 34% 48% 27% 30% 32%

Unfavorable 36 32 38 39 22 43 42 40

Mixed 23 25 20 22 23 23 22 21

Hvn't hrd enough 6 8 4 4 6 6 5 6

Refused 1 1 1 1 1 - 1 -



30. Is your opinion of former United States Representative Geraldine Ferraro favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about her?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 42% 41% 49% 36% 26% 57% 43% 45%

Unfavorable 19 19 15 25 33 9 18 20

Mixed 25 25 23 26 26 22 25 20

Hvn't hrd enough 13 14 13 13 14 13 13 15

Refused 1 1 1 1 1 - 1 1



31. Is your opinion of New York City Public Advocate Mark Green favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 32% 9% 57% 38% 17% 46% 32% 29%

Unfavorable 6 3 9 8 10 3 6 6

Mixed 10 8 14 9 9 11 10 10

Hvn't hrd enough 51 80 20 43 63 39 52 56

Refused 1 1 - 2 1 1 1 -



32. Is your opinion of United States Representative Charles Schumer favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


Favorable 17% 8% 28% 18% 10% 24% 18% 19%

Unfavorable 5 3 6 9 10 2 5 5

Mixed 11 6 16 12 10 15 9 8

Hvn't hrd enough 66 82 50 60 69 59 67 67

Refused 1 1 1 1 2 - 1 -



33. If the 1998 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Alfonse D'Amato the Republican, and Geraldine Ferraro the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


D'Amato 38% 41% 31% 43% 68% 17% 33% 36%

Ferraro 52 49 61 47 23 76 56 54

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

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

DK/NA 6 7 4 7 4 4 8 5



34. If the 1998 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Alfonse D'Amato the Republican, and Mark Green the Democrat, for whom would you vote?

                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997
  
D'Amato             41%     48%     30%     43%     69%     19%     37%     39%


Green 46 33 63 47 21 73 44 47

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

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

DK/NA 10 15 4 9 8 7 14 9



35. If the 1998 election for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Alfonse D'Amato the Republican, and Charles Schumer the Democrat, for whom would you vote?
                                                                          Sep 25
                    Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind     1997


D'Amato 45% 49% 36% 48% 74% 24% 39% 40%

Schumer 40 31 55 38 15 65 40 43

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

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

DK/NA 10 15 6 9 7 9 14 11



38. If the 1998 Democratic primary for United States Senator were being held today and the candidates were Mark Green, Geraldine Ferraro and Charles Schumer for whom would you vote?

                          Registered
                          Democrats


Green 25%

Ferraro 48

Schumer 12

SOMEONE ELSE(VOL) 1

WOULDN'T VOTE(VOL) -

DK/NA 13



40. How would you rate the quality of New York State's public schools? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Very good 8% 13% 1% 8% 11% 5% 8%

Fairly good 47 58 30 50 56 40 49

Fairly bad 23 18 33 20 16 29 24

Very bad 15 7 26 15 11 20 13

DK/NA 7 4 10 7 6 6 7



41. What do you think is the most important problem facing New York State's public schools today?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind
Crime/Drugs/Guns          11%      9%     13%     10%     12%     11%     10%
Student Conduct/
Discipline                10      12       9       7      11       8       9
Lack of parental
involvement/support        2       1       2       2       2       2       1
Teacher quality
(apathy, too old,
tenure)                   10      11      10      10       9      11      11
More teachers/
Teacher support            2       2       1       2       1       2       1
Teacher salaries too
low                        1       1       2       2       1       2       1
Teacher Unions             1       2       1       1       2       -       1
Tenure                     2       3       -       2       -       2       3
Quality of
education/curriculum       7       9       6       8       9       7       8
More support for
special needs              -       -       -       1       1       -       -
Reading/Illiteracy         1       -       1       2       1       1       1
Maintaining
standards                  2       3       -       3       3       1       3
Administration/
Management/
Principles                 2       3       2       2       3       1       3
Inequality of
education/funding          2       1       3       2       -       3       2
Budget/Funding            14      17      11      12      12      15      15
Allocation of funds        1       2       1       2       1       2       1
Inadequate
resources/Supplies/
Buildings                  5       3       6       6       5       6       4
Overcrowded
classrooms                11       3      20      11      10      14      10
OTHER                      8       8       6       9       8       7       8
DK/NA                      7      10       4       7       8       4       8




43. How would you rate the quality of the public schools in your community? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Very good 29% 35% 9% 43% 33% 27% 27%

Fairly good 45 48 43 43 47 41 49

Fairly bad 16 10 29 9 12 21 14

Very bad 6 4 12 4 5 7 6

DK/NA 4 3 7 2 4 4 4



44. How would you rate the physical condition of the public schools in your community? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very good 35% 43% 11% 49% 40% 31% 35%

Fairly good 43 45 43 40 43 42 43

Fairly bad 13 7 25 7 10 17 11

Very bad 5 3 11 1 2 6 7

DK/NA 5 2 9 2 4 4 5



45. Do you have any children under the age of 18?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 


Yes 35% 34% 31% 43% 39% 34% 34%

No 65 66 69 57 60 66 66



46.(If yes) Do you have children who attend public school?

                                  Have children under 18
                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Yes 70% 74% 58% 74% 64% 70% 77%

No 30 26 42 26 36 30 23



47. (If have children in public school) How would you rate the quality of the teachers in the public schools in your community? Very good, fairly good, fairly bad or very bad?

                                  Have children in public school


Tot Ups NYC Sub Rep Dem Ind Very good 50% 46% 42% 60% 49% 48% 54%

Fairly good 44 50 46 35 41 49 40

Fairly bad 4 3 6 5 7 1 4

Very bad 1 - 6 - 2 1 1



48. Generally speaking, do you believe the teachers' unions are playing a positive or a negative role in improving New York State's educational system?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Positive role 46% 40% 53% 45% 37% 60% 40%

Negative role 39 44 31 39 52 25 41

DK/NA 16 16 16 15 11 15 18



49. Do you favor or oppose granting public school principals tenure, that is guaranteeing principals a job after they have worked a certain number of years?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Favor 28% 21% 38% 28% 23% 35% 25%

Oppose 67 75 55 69 75 59 69

DK/NA 5 4 8 2 2 6 6



50. Do you favor or oppose granting public school teachers tenure?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Favor 36% 28% 45% 36% 28% 45% 33%

Oppose 58 67 47 59 68 48 61

DK/NA 6 5 8 4 4 6 6



51. Some people say that teachers who have tenure are no longer accountable for the education that they provide. How convincing do you find this argument against tenure for public school teachers? Very convincing, somewhat convincing, not very convincing, or not convincing at all?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very conv. 27% 31% 21% 28% 34% 18% 28%

Smwht conv. 36 36 38 35 35 40 36

Not very conv. 18 16 20 18 14 22 16

Not conv. at all 16 14 17 18 15 17 16

DK/NA 3 3 5 2 3 3 3



52. Some people say that the job security that tenure provides allows public school teachers to be more independent and creative in the classroom. How convincing do you find this argument in favor of tenure? Very convincing, somewhat convincing, not very convincing, or not convincing at all?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very conv. 13% 10% 13% 18% 12% 14% 14%

Smwht conv. 32 31 37 27 28 38 29

Not very conv. 27 28 20 33 26 26 28

Not conv. at all 25 28 24 20 31 18 25

DK/NA 3 3 6 2 2 3 4



53. Some people say that public school teachers who do an outstanding job should be rewarded with additional pay - so called merit pay. Do you think this is a good idea or a bad idea?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Good idea 73% 71% 76% 74% 75% 71% 74%

Bad idea 23 26 19 23 22 25 23

DK/NA 4 3 5 3 3 3 4



54. Some people say that merit pay would improve the quality of teaching by rewarding excellence. How convincing do you find this argument in favor of merit pay? Very convincing, somewhat convincing, not very convincing, or not convincing at all?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind 
  
Very conv.                41%     39%     44%     41%     42%     41%     41%


Smwht conv. 33 34 31 35 35 30 35

Not very conv. 12 12 13 10 11 14 9

Not conv. at all 12 15 9 12 10 15 12

DK/NA 2 1 3 2 1 1 3



55. Some people say that it would be so difficult to objectively measure a teacher's performance that merit pay might not be awarded fairly. How convincing do you find this argument against merit pay? Very convincing, somewhat convincing, not very convincing, or not convincing at all?

                          Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind


Very conv. 21% 23% 20% 19% 20% 21% 22%

Smwht conv. 34 36 30 36 33 34 36

Not very conv. 26 25 28 25 29 27 25

Not conv. at all 16 13 18 18 15 17 14

DK/NA 2 2 3 2 3 2 3



56. Now I'm going to read three statements about education. Please tell me which comes closer to your own view.

                            Tot     Ups     NYC     Sub     Rep     Dem     Ind
A. Parents should continue 
to send their childen to 
the public school assigned 
by their local school
board.                      22%     26%     13%     29%     28%     14%     27%


B. Parents should be able to choose to send their children to any public school in their district. 36 37 40 30 32 43 32

C. Parents should receive vouchers, funded by public education money, to send their children to the school of their choice whether public or private. 40 34 47 40 39 42 38



DK/NA 2 3 1 2 2 1 3