Divided Over Common Core, NYers Say Too Much Testing

NY state building

Divided Over Common Core, NYers Say Too Much Testing

Cuomo Hits Lowest Job Rating; Crushes Potential Republican Opponents

Jersey’s Christie Popular in NY; Loses to Clinton in ’16 but Not Cuomo

Loudonville, NY. New Yorkers are closely divided on whether they believe Common Core standards will make students more college or career ready, with 45 percent confident they will and 49 percent not confident, according to a Siena College Poll of New York voters released today. About a third of voters (34 percent) think Common Core standards are too demanding, while about one-quarter (27 percent) think they are not demanding enough and one-quarter (23 percent) think they are about right. Twenty-eight percent say that efforts to improve education in the last three years have moved New York schools in the right direction, 22 percent say they have moved schools in the wrong direction and a plurality, 44 percent, think they have had little impact. There is too much testing in public schools, 52 percent say, while 12 percent say there is not enough and 28 percent say it’s the right amount.

Governor Andrew Cuomo now has the lowest job performance rating he’s had since becoming governor. Forty-four percent give him a positive job performance rating while 56 percent give him a negative rating (down from 52-47 percent positive last month). His favorable rating is virtually unchanged from last month. In potential 2014 matchups, Cuomo overwhelms Rob Astorino, Ed Cox and Carl Paladino by between 37 and 41 points.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a 63-25 percent favorability rating. In a potential 2016 presidential matchup, Christie trails Hillary Clinton 56-40 percent and he leads Cuomo 47-42 percent.

“On the implementation of Common Core standards in public schools, New Yorkers are as divided as a physical education class that just broke up into teams,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “There’s no consensus at all on whether the standards are too demanding, not demanding enough or just right. New Yorkers are nearly evenly divided as to their confidence that Common Core standards will make graduates better ready for college or career. And nearly as many think schools are headed in the wrong direction as in the right direction.

“There is a consensus on testing of student. Only one in eight New Yorkers would like to see more testing in the schools but a clear majority believes that there’s currently too much testing in the schools,” Greenberg said. “The jury’s out on Common Core but if standardized student tests were reduced, most New Yorkers would not object.”

Cuomo Has Huge Lead Over Potential Republican Challengers; Has His Lowest Job Performance Rating
Cuomo is viewed favorably by 61 percent of voters and unfavorably by 32 percent (from 62-32 percent last month). Fifty-one percent are prepared to re-elect him, while 41 percent would prefer someone else (from 52-38 percent in October).

“While Cuomo maintains his nearly two-to-one favorability rating, voters are less enthralled with the job he is doing as governor,” Greenberg said. “More than twice as many voters think he’s doing a poor job compared to an excellent job, and more voters now think Cuomo is doing a fair (39 percent) or poor job (17 percent) than at any time in his three years as governor.

“However, nearly a year before he faces voters again, Cuomo is in a commanding position to win re-election. Whether he’s matched against the state Republican chairman, the recently re-elected Westchester county executive, or his 2010 opponent, Cuomo currently has the support of between 62 and 65 percent of voters,” Greenberg said. “Against all three, he gets the support of more than 80 percent of Democrats, a strong majority of independents and a little more than one-third of Republicans. And that’s before he spends a dollar from his $30 million campaign war chest.

“When voters were asked whether their political beliefs were better represented by Cuomo or New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, nearly half of voters say Cuomo, while more than one-quarter say de Blasio,” Greenberg said. “Democrats are more closely divided with 48 percent saying Cuomo and 37 percent de Blasio.”

Christie Liked – a Lot – By NY Voters; For President: Clinton Over Christie & Christie Over Cuomo
“New Yorkers might like to poke fun at their Garden State neighbors – what New Yorker doesn’t know a good Jersey joke? – but voters here like Chris Christie the recently re-elected Republican governor. And it’s not just Republicans. Christie, who is viewed favorably downstate and upstate, has a 57-31 percent favorability rating with Democrats and a 67-19 percent favorability rating with independents,” Greenberg said.

“Cuomo has a strong favorability rating. Christie’s is a little better. And Clinton’s favorability rating, 67-31 percent, is best of all,” Greenberg said. “So who do New Yorkers favor if Christie were to face either Clinton or Cuomo in the 2016 presidential election? They favor Clinton over Christie but not overwhelmingly. Christie splits the suburban and upstate vote with Clinton, who dominates in New York City.

“If it’s the battle of the sitting governors, right now advantage Christie. Despite ‘home court advantage’ and a two-to-one Democratic enrollment advantage, Christie is besting Cuomo by five points. Cuomo’s New York City lead is not enough to offset Christie’s comparable upstate and suburban leads, not to mention Christie’s 21-point lead among independent voters,” Greenberg said.

Education, Taxes, Economy Dominate Voters’ Priority ‘To Do’ List for Albany

Voters were asked about five issues and whether each should be an absolute top priority for Governor Cuomo, a priority but not one of the top ones, or not a priority at all. They were then asked which of the five should be the most important item on the governor’s ‘to do’ list.

“About two-thirds of voters think corruption should be one of the governor’s absolute top priorities. About two-thirds say the same about education. And reducing taxes. And improving the economy. Clearly, voters have a lot of top priorities for Albany,” Greenberg said. “Republicans are a little more eager than Democrats to make reducing taxes a top priority and Democrats are more eager than Republicans to make education a top priority. On corruption and economic climate there is very little partisan divide.

“But which priority should be at the top of the list? Well, it depends who you ask. Overall, 28 percent say it should be improving education, followed by 25 percent each for reducing taxes and improving the economy. Fighting corruption is only identified as top priority for 15 percent and preparing for future natural disasters is identified by four percent,” Greenberg said. “Democrats make education number one. Republicans say it’s taxes. Independents rate education, taxes and economy all about equally.”

Voters Think Casinos Will Be a Mixed Bag for New York
“Just over half of voters think that five years from now the state will see both positives and negatives as a result of approving the casino constitutional amendment. One quarter say we will look back at the decision to approve the amendment as a bad decision, and almost as many, 22 percent, say we will look at it as a good decision,” Greenberg said. “This seems to be an issue on which upstaters, downstaters, liberals, and conservatives agree.”

Legislature’s Favorability Ratings Take a Hit
“Only about one-third of voters have a favorable view of either the State Senate or State Assembly. Each house is viewed unfavorably by about half of voters,” Greenberg said. “The Assembly’s favorability rating dropped to a negative 34-48 percent, down from a positive 43-41 percent last month. The Senate’s fell to 35-52 percent, down from 41-47 percent.”

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This Siena College Poll was conducted November 11-14, 2013 by telephone calls to 806 New York State registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party, region and gender to ensure representativeness. Sampling was conducted via random digit dialing to landline and cell phones weighted to reflect known population patterns. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in New York State. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Steve Greenberg at (518) 469-9858. For survey cross-tabs and frequencies: www.Siena.edu/SRI/SNY.