Q-Poll: New Yorkers Back Teachers Unions Over Cuomo
New York voters say they trust the state’s teachers’ unions over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s own direction for education policy in the state, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found.
The poll found voters trust the unions by a margin of 55 percent to 28 percent when it comes to improving the state’s education system.
Meanwhile, as Cuomo hashes out the nettlesome details of the state budget with lawmakers, his job approval rating has fallen to 50 percent, one his lowest ever in the poll. His approval in December stood at 58 percent to 39 percent.
The survey found voters are skeptical of efforts to scale back teacher tenure or provide merit pay for teachers based on testing.
By a margin of 71 percent to 25 percent, voters believe teacher salaries shouldn’t be tied to how students perform on standardized testing. Meanwhile, 65 percent of voters polled by Quinnipiac believe teacher tenure shouldn’t be based on test scores of students.
Cuomo’s $142 billion budget proposal would increase education aid by as much as $1.1 billion, but much of the spending increases are tied to enacting a package reform measures.
Cuomo wants to create a new, more stringent teacher evaluation system, raise the statewide cap on charter schools, make it harder for teachers to obtain tenure and provide an easier route for districts to fire teachers who are deemed to be poor performing.
The governor’s plan would also make it easier for the state to have low-performing schools taken over by an independent monitor.
The fight over education in the budget has led to an all-out war between Cuomo and the teachers unions, chiefly the New York Stated United Teachers statewide and the city-based United Federation of Teachers.
“Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets his lowest grade on education, which is the top priority for voters, a grade so bad it pulls down his whole job approval score. He’s just at the 50 percent mark,” said Mickey Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Gov. Cuomo gets a rap on the knuckles from the teachers’ unions. By better than 2-1, voters trust the unions more than the governor to fix the schools.”
But while voters part with Cuomo on education, they do support his efforts to increase the state’s minimum wage to $10.50. In New York City, the wage would grow to $11.50 as proposed by the governor.
Statewide, voters back the $10.50 minimum wage proposal, 73 percent to 24 percent. Only Republican voters give the thumbs down to the proposal, by a margin of 51 percent to 46 percent.
Sixty-eight percent of voters back Cuomo’s minimum wage hike for New York City to $11.50, while in New York City a broad majority of voters support the idea, 81 percent to 16 percent.
Voters are so enthusiastic about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s minimum wage hike plan for the city and are split 47 percent to 47 percent. De Blasio’s proposal would increase the wage to $13 and index future increases to the rate of inflation.
This is largely in line with voters backing Cuomo’s more centrist political views to de Blasio’s liberal politics: 26 percent of voters say they back Cuomo’s views compared to 22 percent who say they are in line with de Blasio. Still, half voters say “neither.”
The poll of 1,228 voters was conducted from March 11 through March 16. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.
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