Renew New York Poll


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The poll, “Little Common Ground: Anger, Frustration in New York State”, is a joint effort of Newsday, News 12 and Hofstra University as part of new civic engagement project called Renew New York. It was conducted by the independent research firm Princeton Research Survey Associates International, which surveyed voters on a wide range of issues including attitudes towards state government, the state budget crisis and the upcoming election.

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  • New York voters are not happy. A majority of New York voters (53%) say they are frustrated with the way the federal government is working, while nearly a quarter (23%) say they are angry. Only 17% proclaim themselves satisfied with the functioning of the U.S. government as a whole.Anger and frustration toward the Federal Governments is more pronounced among Long Islanders. More than 8 in 10 (81%) of those on Long Island are angry (32%) or frustrated (49%) with the Federal government.
  • Discontent with the New York state government is even more widespread. 36% of New York voters expressed anger toward the NY State government, while just under half (47%) are frustrated with the state government. Only one in eight (12%) are satisfied.Anger and frustration toward the State Governments is more pronounced among Long Islanders. A whopping 90% are angry (38%) or frustrated (52%) with the State gov’t.
  • There are some substantial differences in how subgroups of New Yorkers feel about their state government.The angriest New York voters are from 50 to 64 years old: 45% of the group are angry at the way the state government is working. Those age 18-29 are the least likely to be angry, with 22% giving that response.On this dimension, more white voters are angry in percentage terms than minority voters. Two in five white voters (42%) are angry, compared to roughly one in every four of both black and Hispanic voters.
  • The anger is not spread uniformly across the state. Upstate urban voters are most angry (47 percent), while just 28 percent of those in New York City are. Suburban voters in Long Island fall in between, at 38 percent. In terms of political groups, anger is at its highest levels among Independents, of which 42% express that emotion. In contrast, 31% of Democratic voters and 36% of Republican voters say they are angry at state government.
  • Along with deep dissatisfaction, the poll also reveals a deeply conflicted electorate that, while united in its disgust with the bureaucracy, is less able to agree on what to do about it.  Almost all (96%) New York voters believe there need to be changes within the state government. A strong majority (70%) believe there need to be major, structural reforms while roughly one quarter (26%) feel the need for minor reforms.A mere 2% of NY voters believe State government doesn’t need to change much at all.
  • Voters back some reform proposals with large majorities, but the voters are not yet ready to back a convention to rewrite the state constitution.Among six possible reforms, strong support emerges for three:76% back term limits on state legislators74% also back strict, much lower limits on campaign contributions in state races; and72% support giving the voters the right to directly vote on and enact laws through initiatives and referenda.Majorities back two very different proposals: requiring a super-majority legislative vote for tax increases (60%) and taking the power to draw legislative boundaries away from the state legislature and giving it to a non-partisan commission (56%).Paradoxically, one proposal that does not draw strong support at this time is holding a convention to change the state Constitution. Only 41% support this move that could lead to the biggest changes in the state government and 46% oppose it.
  • The budget gridlock in Albany is reflected in the views of the voters. There is no majority support for any of the seven major proposals for closing the state’s multi-billion dollar budget gap. In fact, 42% of the voters rejected all five of the suggested budget cuts and 70% rejected both the proposed tax increases. 28% said no to all seven proposals.The only cuts that draw support from as many as one in three voters are aimed at state employees. And the voters have said state employees do not bear major responsibility forthe state’s problems. About four in ten voters (36%) say state employee salaries and benefits should be cut to close the budget gap, but a majority (54%) opposes such cuts.Three in ten voters (30%) say some layoffs of state employees should be used to cut costs, but 60% of voters say no.
  • The voters see electing new officials as one good path for change. And they may be ready to exercise that power as they look toward the fall elections. More than half of both NY voters and LI Voters want most incumbent congressman voted out of office.Nearly two-thirds of all those surveyed oppose the re-election of most state lawmakers.Thinking about November, New York’s voters are split on whether they would like to see their current representative re-elected this year:41% back re-electing their own state Senator and 43% oppose that;39% favor re-electing their current state Assembly representative and 40% are opposed.And even of the U.S. House, they are split: 37% support re-election and 40% oppose that.
  • State voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, by a 63% to 32% percent margin. On Long Island, 53% of voters approve of Obama’s job performance, and 40% do not.And the voters hold a dim view of the performance of officials in Albany. Nearly two-thirds (64%) disapprove of the job Gov. David Paterson is doing, with only 26% expressing approval.The state legislature doesn’t do any better. The performance of the state Senate is given an approval rating of just 23% by the voters, with 64% disapproving. The performance of the state Assembly is about the same: 24% approve and 57% disapprove.
  • Voters say there is enough blame to go around for the current problems facing state government. Asked to parcel out responsibility for the state government’s problems, the voters put the state legislature at the top of the list. Nearly half of the voters (45%) say the State Senate islargely responsible for the problems, with 37% labeling the State Assembly as largely responsible. Gov. Paterson, whose term has been marked by controversy, investigations and questions about effectiveness, is less frequently blamed: 31% say he is largely responsible.State government employees, whose pay and benefits have been the subject of much debate, are named as largely responsible for the problems by only one in ten voters (10%).Finally, about one in three voters blame big business as largely responsible (34%) and about one in five voters blame labor unions (21%).
  • New York voters clearly want change and they say elections are a good way to make it happen.Fully three out of five voters (61%) say that voting gives people like me some say in how the state government runs things. 35% disagree. As mentioned earlier, many New York voters hold the view that one route to change in state government is electing new people to office in Albany.
  • Over half of all New York State and Long Island voters say they always vote.
  • The legislative balloting in November is a distant prospect for most people, with the primaries not coming until September. All 62 seats in the state Senate and all 150 seats inthe state Assembly are on the ballot in November, providing all voters a chance to express their opinions on their individual representatives. With more than six months out, 32% of state voters and 37% of those on Long Island said they have said they have given “quite a lot” of thought to the November 2010 elections.
  • Renew New York Poll

    1. 1.
    2. 2. Little Common Ground:Anger, Frustration in New York State<br />A survey of registered voters in New York State for <br />Newsday and Hofstra University<br />By: Princeton Survey Research Associates International<br />
    3. 3. New York Voters<br />Long Island Voters<br />
    4. 4. Satisfaction with the <br />New York State government<br />New York Voters<br />Long Island Voters<br />
    5. 5. Differences in anger levels toward the state government among subgroups.<br />(among respondents that said they are angry)<br />By Age & Ethnicity:<br />% Angry<br />
    6. 6. Differences in anger levels toward the state government among subgroups.<br />(among respondents that said they are angry)<br />By Region & Party Affiliation:<br />% Angry<br />
    7. 7. 70%<br />State government needs major, structural reforms<br />The New York State government needs to make changes.<br />26%<br />State government needs some minor reforms<br />State government doesn’t need much change at all.<br />2%<br />
    8. 8. Support for Proposed Changes to State Government<br />
    9. 9. Ways to cut the $9 billion budget deficit<br />
    10. 10. Support for Elected Officials<br />
    11. 11. Approval Ratings of Elected Officials<br />32%<br />NY State<br />Long Island<br />NY State<br />Long Island<br />NY State<br />Long Island<br />NY State<br />Long Island<br />Barack Obama<br />David Paterson<br />New York State Assembly<br />New York State Senate<br />
    12. 12. Pointing the Finger of Blame<br />
    13. 13. Attitudes Toward Public Officials<br />
    14. 14. Looking to the Elections<br />How often vote in New York State elections <br />New York Voters<br />Long Island Voters<br />Nearly <br />Always<br />Never<br />Part of the Time<br />
    15. 15. Looking to the Elections<br />Thought given to the November elections <br />New York Voters<br />Long Island Voters<br />