Majority: Separate Ethics from Budget


Majority: Separate Ethics from Budget & Separate Education Too
Overwhelming Support for: Keeping State Emails Longer than 90 Days; Including Minority Leaders in Budget Negotiations; Turning Gov’s Upstate Economic Development Competition into Money for All Regions
Nearly Three-Quarters of Voters Want Minimum Wage Increase;
Strong Support for Assembly’s Plan over Governor’s Plan

Loudonville, NY. By a 54-41 percent margin, voters say Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed ethics reform package should be addressed separate and apart from the budget, rather than be included in the budget. Similarly, voters say 56-40 percent the Governor’s proposed education policy changes should be addressed separate and apart from the budget, according to a new Siena College poll of New York State registered voters released today.

While most voters have not heard much about the Cuomo Administration’s email policy, 80 percent say state emails should be saved significantly longer than 90 days. Eighty-five percent, would like to see Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb included in budget negotiations. More than three-quarters of voters say the Governor should shelve his regional competition for economic development money and divide the money among all seven upstate regions. Only 26 percent support the Senate’s desire to not increase the minimum wage, while 72 percent say it should be increased to at least $10.50 per hour.

“Corruption in Albany continues to be overwhelmingly seen by voters as a serious problem, however, they do not believe ethics reform should be included in the budget. A majority from every party – including Republicans by nearly two-to-one – say ethics should be addressed separate from the budget,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Education policy changes, too, should be addressed outside of the budget, say a majority of Democrats, independents and downstate suburbanites, as well as about two-thirds of Republicans and upstaters. Only New York City voters, 51-44 percent, say education policy changes should be included in the budget.

“Despite how serious a problem they say corruption is in state government, by 62-29 percent voters say an on time budget is more important than Cuomo’s ethics package, up significantly from 53-37 percent last month. Strong majorities from every party and region agree,” Greenberg said. “If ethics is included in the budget – and a majority think it will be – voters are evenly divided on whether it will reduce corruption or have no real effect.

“Small majorities of Democrats and downstaters think that if it was included in the budget, the Governor’s ethics package will reduce corruption. However, small majorities of Republicans, independents and upstaters think it will have little or no effect,” Greenberg said.

Governor Has Influence over Education Policy, Voters Say; They Side with Teachers’ Unions over Cuomo
“Despite repeatedly saying he does not, more than three-quarters of voters think the Governor has influence over education policy, including 40 percent who think he has a great deal of influence,” Greenberg said. “At least 73 percent of voters from every party and region think he has at least some influence on education policy.

“By a 50-41 percent margin, voters side with the teachers’ unions – who say increasing and providing fair funding to school districts is what’s needed to improve education – over Cuomo, who is pushing to change the teacher evaluation system to improve education. Republicans and independents are closely divided, while Democrats clearly side with the teachers’ unions. New York City and upstate voters agree more with the teachers and downstate suburbanites agree more with the Governor,” Greenberg said.

Few Voters Know Much About Cuomo Admin. Email Policy; Want Emails Kept More than 90 Days
“Fewer than three in ten voters say they’ve heard or read at least some about the Cuomo Administration’s email retention policy, while 41 percent say they’ve heard nothing about it,” Greenberg said. “By an overwhelming margin, 80-16 percent, voters say state emails should be retained significantly longer than 90 days, including more than three-quarters of voters from every region, party, gender, race, religion, age.”

Minority Leaders Should Be Included in Budget Negotiations
“The three men in a room – or four as it has been the last few years – should make room for two more, another man and the first woman in the room. Voters say 85-11 percent that the minority leaders of both houses of the Legislature should be included in the private budget negotiating sessions,” Greenberg said. “More than 80 percent of every demographic group supports including the minority leaders in budget negotiations.”

End the Competition: Upstate Economic Revitalization Fund Should be Divided Among Regions
“More than three-quarters of voters, 77 percent – including at least three-quarters of every party, region, gender, race, and age – say that the $1.5 billion upstate economic revitalization fund should be divided among all the upstate regions. Only 16 percent believe the Governor’s proposed competition with three winners each receiving $500 million is the right way to go,” Greenberg said.

Voters Overwhelmingly Support Increasing Minimum Wage; Most Want it Increased More than Gov
“Nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers want to see the minimum wage hiked to $10.50 per hour, compared to only 26 percent who side with the Senate in keeping it at $9.00 per hour,” Greenberg said. “While 20 percent say the Governor is right and it should be increased to $10.50, 52 percent of all voters say they side with the Assembly in raising it to $10.50 now and increasing it even more in future years.”

“Republicans are nearly evenly divided, with 47 percent supporting the Senate’s position of holding the minimum wage at $9.00 and 51 percent supporting an increase to $10.50, including 34 percent who say it should increase more in future years,” Greenberg said. “Eighty-four percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents want the minimum wage increased to $10.50, with more than half of each saying it should be increased even more.

“Support is strong for increasing the minimum wage, however, voters are closely divided on whether downstate should have a higher minimum wage than upstate, with a small majority of 51 percent saying no and 46 percent supporting the differential minimum wage,” Greenberg said. “New York City voters support the higher minimum wage for downstate, downstate suburbanites are closely divided and upstaters oppose almost two-to-one.”

For Second Month in a Row, Cuomo Ratings Slip a Little
Cuomo’s favorability rating is 57-39 percent, down slightly from 59-37 percent last month, and he has a negative
43-56 percent job performance rating, from a negative 44-55 percent last month.

“Bob Dylan might title it ‘The Budget Battle, Ethics Reform, Fighting the Teachers Unions Blues.’ Over the last month, Cuomo’s standing with Democrats took a net nine-point hit on his favorability rating and a net 10-point hit on his job performance rating,” Greenberg said. “While equal numbers of voters view the job Cuomo is doing as Governor as good and fair, three times as many voters say he’s doing a poor job compared to those who say he’s doing an excellent job. Thanks to downstaters, he still has a net 18-point positive favorability rating.”

Direction of State and Nation Down this Month; New York Still (Barely) Positive; USA Still Negative
“By a 46-42 percent margin, voters say the state is on the right track, down from 49-41 percent last month. A majority of downstaters continue to say the state is on the right track, while a majority of upstaters say the state is headed in the wrong direction,” Greenberg said. “A majority, 52 percent, say the nation is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 40 percent who say it’s on the right track, down slightly from 42-51 percent last month.”

Clinton Takes a Hit on Her Favorability Rating
“Hillary Clinton is still viewed favorably by most New Yorkers, 59-38 percent, however, it’s down from 62-35 percent last month, and 65-32 percent at this time last year,” Greenberg said. “Clinton has taken a lot of heat over the last month for her email policy while Secretary of State. Among Democrats, 77 percent continue to view her favorably, down from 85 percent last month, however, 76 percent of Republicans view her unfavorably, up from 63 percent last month.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted March 15-19, 2015 by telephone calls conducted in English to 800 New York State registered voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. It has an overall margin of error of + 3.5 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting. Sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample provided by Survey Sampling International of landline and cell phone telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party, region and gender to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. 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: