Siena Poll: Tax Caps and Ethics Are New Yorkers' Top Priorities

June 13, 2011 Updated Jun 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM EDT

By WKBW News


Siena Poll: Tax Caps and Ethics Are New Yorkers' Top Priorities

June 13, 2011 Updated Jun 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM EDT

Loudonville, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Laws to implement a property tax cap and require full public disclosure of legislators’ outside income have each been identified by more than half of New Yorkers as one of their top two legislative priorities before the end of session next week according to a Siena Research Institute poll of registered voters released Monday.

While New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced agreement on these issues, as of yet neither bill has been passed in either house. f they fail to pass, a plurality of the supporters of the proposals will blame Senate Republicans, more than Assembly Democrats and far more than Cuomo, according to the study.

Cuomo has a 68-21 percent favorability rating, down slightly from last month’s 71-20 percent, while 55 percent of voters say he’s doing either an excellent or good job as Governor, compared to 41 percent who say he’s doing a fair or poor job (up from 52-45 percent last month).

Voters view each House of the Legislature unfavorably by approximately two-to-one majorities, however, a majority of voters view their Senator favorably and a plurality have a favorable view of their Assemblymember. A law allowing wine to be sold in grocery stores is supported by 59 percent of voters and opposed by 36 percent. When it comes to “ultimate fighting,” 55 percent say it should remain illegal in New York, while 39 percent want it legalized.
Most Important Issue for End of 2011 Session

“More than one-third of voters say a property tax cap is the single most important issue they want addressed this session, and 58 percent say it’s one of their top two priorities. Following closely behind, with 52 percent calling it one of their top two priorities, is a new ethics law,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “The tax cap and ethics are the top two issues for voters of every party, every age group and every region, although for New York City voters the tax cap, ethics and extending rent regulation laws are all virtually tied for first place.”

“More than one-quarter of voters identify legalizing same sex marriages and extending rent regulation laws as one of their top two priorities. Creating an independent redistricting commission is the top priority of only seven percent of voters and one of the top two of 20 percent,” Greenberg said. “Same sex marriage legislation is one of the top two priorities for at least one-third of Democrats, New York City voters and those less than 35-years-old.”

In addition to being the top two priorities, the property tax cap and ethics reform have larger support among voters than the other issues. Ethics reform is supported by an 81-15 percent margin. The property tax cap is supported 67-28 percent. Renewing rent regulation laws is supported 58-31 percent. Legalizing same sex marriages has the support of 55 percent of voters, with 40 percent opposing. And creating an independent redistricting commission is supported 49-32 percent.

The Blame Game if Issues Aren’t Passed: Cuomo’s in the Clear; Senate Republicans are Main Target

“A plurality of tax cap supporters – 36 percent – says they will blame Senate Republicans if it is not passed, while 26 percent will blame Assembly Democrats and only 11 percent will blame the Governor. Not surprisingly Democrats will overwhelmingly blame the Senate and Republicans will overwhelmingly blame the Assembly. Independent voters are virtually evenly divided in placing blame between the two houses,” Greenberg said.

“Similarly, if ethics reform is not passed, 34 percent of supporters will blame Senate Republicans and 22 percent will blame Assembly Democrats, with nine percent blaming Cuomo. Here, however, while the two parties similarly blame each other, independent voters also blame Senate Republicans over Assembly Democrats 28-19 percent,” Greenberg said. “Same sex marriage supporters are much stronger in placing blame, with 57 percent – and a plurality of every demographic group – saying the Senate will be most to blame if it fails to pass.”

Cuomo Continues to Have Very Strong Favorability Rating, As Job Performance Rating Edges Up

“Although it’s down a few points from last month, and the ‘lowest’ since becoming Governor, Andrew Cuomo continues to enjoy a better than three-to-one favorability rating,” Greenberg said. “And at the same time his job performance rating as Governor is the second highest it’s been, and the best since February.

“Cuomo’s favorability rating is better than four-to-one favorable among Democrats, about three-to-one among independents and better than two-to-one among Republicans. His favorability is 70-plus percent downstate and 63 percent upstate,” Greenberg said. “He does not do as well with voters in union households, 59-26 percent, as he does with those in non-union households, 73-17 percent. Similarly, his job performance rating is 59-37 percent positive with voters in non-union household, and a negative 45-49 percent with voters in union households.”

Voters Unfavorable Toward Senate & Assembly; View Their Senator & Assemblymember Favorably

The State Senate is viewed favorably by 30 percent of voters and unfavorably by 56 percent (down from 33-56 percent last month). The Assembly fares worse, with a 26-56 favorability rating (down from 32-54 percent last month). When asked about their Assemblymember, voters have a favorable view, 47-29 percent, and an even more favorable view, 55-30 percent, of their Senator.

“Voters continue to view the Legislature in a very negative light. Democrats tend to be slightly less unfavorable to both the Assembly and the Senate, however, a majority of voters from every party and every region have an unfavorable view of each house,” Greenberg said. “That attitude changes when we ask voters about their legislators. A majority of voters from every party and region view their Senator favorably, and a plurality from every region and party has a favorable view of their Assemblymember.”

Voters Want Wine Sold in Grocery Stores

“A strong majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents support passing a law to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and grocery stores. There is support in every region, with strongest support in the downstate suburbs. Younger voters support it more than older voters,” Greenberg said. “And ironically the only two demographic groups that oppose wine being sold in grocery stores – albeit by small majorities – are two groups not often aligned on issues: conservatives and African American voters.”

Majority Thinks Mixed Martial Arts Should Remain Illegal in New York

“New Yorkers are not yet ready to give the green light to ultimate fighting. While independents are nearly evenly divided, a strong majority of Democrats and an even larger majority of Republicans say no. This is not an upstate-downstate issue as a majority from every region is opposed. Men support it, while women are strongly opposed. And young voters strongly support it, while older voters oppose it even more strongly,” Greenberg said.

Obama Favorability & Re-Elect Slip a Little over the Last Month

“President Obama’s favorability has slipped below 60 percent for the first time in 2011. Although he still has a 59-38 percent favorability rating, it’s down from last month’s 62-36 percent,” Greenberg said. “A majority of voters, 52 percent, are prepared to re-elect him next year, compared to 44 percent who would prefer ‘someone else,’ down from 54-39 percent last month. The President continues to divide voters along partisan lines with Democrats favorable and supportive, Republicans unfavorable and opposed, and independents closely divided.”

Complete information and polling data can be found at: