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Date: May 20, 2010
Newsday, News 12 and Hofstra Release Wide-Ranging Poll of New York State Voters
Majority of New York voters angry and frustrated with state and federal government; dissatisfaction with Albany hits 90 percent on Long Island
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - Fueled by anti-incumbent sentiment and fed-up with government, New York state voters overwhelmingly support term limits, campaign finance reform, and the power to put citizen initiatives on the ballot, according to a new statewide poll released today.
Three-quarters of New York voters and more than 80 percent of those on Long Island are angry or frustrated with federal government, and more than half of both groups want most incumbent congressmenvoted out of office, the poll found. Discontent with state government is even higher: 83 percent of New Yorkers statewide and a whopping 90 percent of Nassau and Suffolk voters reported being unhappy with Albany. A majority of all those surveyed oppose the re-election of most state legislators.
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.
The results will be discussed today at Hofstra University by a panel of state leaders. The full text of the poll is available at www.renew-newyork.com.
"This poll is the perfect starting point for a meaningful dialogue between our elected leaders and the people they represent," said Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz. "The Renew New York initiative will continue and deepen that conversation, providing a template to explore possible solutions to the difficult issues facing our state."
The poll shows that anger and frustration towards state government is widespread, but with distinct regional, racial and ethnic differences. Upstate urban voters are most angry (47 percent), while just 28 percent of those in New York City are. Suburban voters on Long Island fall in between, at 38 percent. More white voters, 42 percent, say they are angry about state government, compared to 26 percent of black voters and 24 percent ofHispanic voters.
Along with deep dissatisfaction, the poll also reveals a deeply conflicted electorate that, while united in its disdain for the bureaucracy, is less able to agree on what to do about it.
For example, seven in ten New York state voters say state government needs major structural reforms, such as term limits and much lower campaign contribution limits. But most voters also rejected seven proposals to close the estimated $9 billion state budget cap, from spending cuts for public transit and education to raising the state sales or income tax. Moreover, while general anti-incumbent feelings run high, voters are split on whether they want to vote their own state or federal legislators out of office.
"New York voters are divided and conflicted about how to express their anger and frustration," said Evans Witt, CEO of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, which conducted the survey. "They want change, but they are not ready - yet - to simply ‘throw the bums out'. This sets the stage for an unpredictable and volatile campaign this year."
Among the other findings:
- State voters approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing, by a 62 percent to 32 percent margin. On Long Island, 52 percent of voters approve of Obama's job performance, and 40 percent do not.
- Voters say there is enough blame to go around for the current problems facing state government. Asked who is largely responsible for those problems, 31 percent of voters chose Gov. David Paterson, 45 percent chose the state Senate, 37 percent chose the state Assembly, 34 percent identified big business, 21 percent chose state labor unions and 10 percent chose state employees.
- Forty-one percent of voters support holding a convention to change the state Constitution, while 46 percent oppose it.
- More than six months out, 32 percent of state voters and 37 percent of those on Long Island said they have given "quite a lot" of thought to the November 2010 elections.
About the poll:
The Renew NY poll surveyed 1,500 registered voters or likely-to-register voters in New York Statebetween April 19 and May 9, 2010, including an over-sample of 300 voters in Long Island The margin of error for overall New York state poll results is plus or minus three percentage points. For a total of 500 voters in Long Island, the margin is plus or minus six percentage points, and for the rest of New York, the margin is plus or minus four percentage points.
About Renew New York:
The Renew NY project is designed to engage, educate and empower citizens with a series of events through the November 2010 elections, including a mock constitutional convention for high schools students, a forum based on issues raised in the poll and a gubernatorial debate.
About the Renew New York partners:
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 150 undergraduate and more than 160 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business; engineering; communication; education, health and human services; and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. The School of Medicine, in partnership with North Shore-LIJ Health Systems, is scheduled to enroll its first class in Fall 2011, pending accreditation. Home to the final 2008 presidential debate, the Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and the award-winning Educate '08 civic education series.Hofstra will launch a year-long celebration of its 75th anniversary in September 2010.
News 12 Networks:
News 12 Networks is proud to be a cable exclusive service, currently reaching nearly 3.8 million households in the New York market. News 12 Networks is the country's first, largest, and most watched 24-hour local television news network. The Network is made up of 7 individual local news channels serving the areas of Long Island, New Jersey, Southwestern Connecticut, Westchester County, the Hudson Valley, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. News 12 Networks is owned and operated by Cablevision Systems Corporation.
Newsday, one of the nation's largest daily newspapers, serves Long Island through its print editions and its hyper-local web site, newsday.com. With 19 Pulitzers and various other journalism awards, Newsday is read by seven out of 10 Long Island adults each week. Newsday is part of Newsday Media Group, which also includes explore LI.com; amNewYork, a widely circulated free daily serving New York City; and Star Community Publishing, the Northeast's largest group of weekly shopper publications. Newsday is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation.
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Related Link: Renew New York