Q-Poll: Voters Split On Opting Out Of Tests

testsVoters in New York are split over whether students should be allowed to opt out of standardized testing, a Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday fonud.

Forty-eight percent of voters believe students should be allowed to refuse to take standardized tests, while 47 percent believe students shouldn’t have the right to opt out of the tests.

The state Department of Education estimated 20 percent of students chose to not take the April round of Common Core-based examinations in English and math — a jump from about 5 percent the year earlier.

The “opt-out movement” gained support from the statewide teachers union and Gov. Andrew Cuomo — a proponent of standardized testing in the classroom — has said parents have the right to not have their children take the tests.

As the debate over education policy in New York continues to swirl, Cuomo is launching a commission designed to overhaul the Common Core standards, with the results due by January in time for his State of the State address. More >

Q-Poll: Voters Say Cuomo And de Blasio Are In A ‘Political Feud’

deblasiocuomoA majority of New York voters believe Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are engaged in a political turf war and not working together for the “public good,” a Quinnipiac Universtiy poll released on Thursday found.

The poll found statewide 57 percent of voters believe Cuomo and de Blasio are in engaged in a “political feud” including 61 percent of New York City voters.

Among those who believe the Cuomo-de Blasio rift is a real one, 78 percent believe it’s harmful to New Yorkers, the poll found.

A majority of voters, by a margin of 61 percent to 9 percent, including 67 percent of those in New York City, believe Cuomo is winning the battle with de Blasio.

The tensions between the state’s two most prominent Democrats boiled over into public in July, when de Blasio aired his grievances on NY1 with what he saw as Cuomo’s consistent undermining of his agenda at the state Capitol in Albany. The mayor, considered to be more liberal than Cuomo, blasted the governor for seemingly siding with Senate Republicans at the expense of the Democratic-led Assembly.

But in the weeks after that interview, Cuomo has sought to out maneuver de Blasio on key issues, including a push to raise the minimum wage over the next several years to $15, while also aligning himself more closely with Senate Democrats and Vice President Joe Biden in the process.

Voters, though, remain divided over who is at fault. More >

Q-Poll: NYC Voters Oppose Iran Deal

A plurality of voters in New York City do not support an agreement with Iran designed to limit its nuclear capabilities in exchange for lifting sanctions against the country, a Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday found.

The survey found voters in New York City oppose the agreement, 43 percent to 36 percent. Opposition among Jewish voters is higher: 53 percent do not support the agreement compared to 33 percent who do.

Among Republican voters, opposition stands at 70 percent to 15 percent. A majority of independent voters also oppose the deal, 51 percent to 32 percent.

Democratic voters, however, do back the deal, albeit without a majority: 43 percent to 33 percent. More >

Q-Poll: NYC Voters Back $15 Wage For Fast-Food Workers

fastfoodThe second part of a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday found New York City voters overwhelmingly back a recommended $15 minimum wage for workers in the fast-food industry.

The poll found voters back the recommendation, made by a Department of Labor wage board and embraced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, that would gradually phase-in the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $15, by a margin of 73 percent to 24 percent.

Republican voters, however, oppose the $15 wage, 53 percent to 45 percent, the poll found. More >

Q-Poll: NYC Voters Give Higher Marks To Cuomo Over de Blasio

deblasiocuomoNew York City voters give Gov. Andrew Cuomo a higher job approval rating than Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Wednesday that also found the first-term mayor may have a difficult path to re-election.

The poll found voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing by a margin of 58 percent to 36 percent, up from a June survey that showed his approval numbers at 52 percent to 29 percent.

The mayor, meanwhile, scores an approval rating of 44 percent, with 44 percent equally disapproving of his job performance.

Democratic Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is believed to be a potential candidate for mayor at some point, has an approval rating of 54 percent, compared to 21 percent who disapprove. More >

Q Poll: NYers Support EITC, Oppose NYC Mayoral Control

A majority of New York voters support the concepts behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Parental Choice in Education Act and oppose (though by a slimmer margin) extended mayoral control in the Big Apple, a new Q poll found.

Sixty-six percent of poll respondents said they are in favor of providing $500 worth of state income tax credits to parents who earn up to $60,000 annually and pay tuition for children to attend private schools – including religious schools, the poll found.

And 55 percent said they back giving tax credits to individuals and companies which donate to private and parochial schools. Democrats are divided on this issue, with 49 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. But other party, gender, regional and income groups support the measure – including 60 percent in New York City.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been making a big end-of-session push on the tax credit front after failing his effort to link the EITC with the DREAM Act during the budget battle.

During a CapTon interview last night, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said there is support in the Democratic conference for the education tax credit, and he did not rule out the possibility that some version of it could be included in the Big Ugly – though he said it would likely have to be amended to make it onto the floor.

So far, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who used to be a sponsor of the EITC (back before he ascended to the leadership post and pulled his name off all bills), has been steadfast in his insistence that there is not sufficient support among Assembly Democrats to move the measure.

Speaking of New York City, 55 percent of voters across the state do not support the extension of mayoral control of the public school system in the five boroughs. New York City voters, who are directly impacted by this issue, are divided, with 48 percent in favor, and 44 percent opposed. Opposition is 59-23 percent upstate and 64-28 percent in the suburbs.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio gets a negative 28-40 percent favorability rating in this poll, with a 46-41 percent positive in New York City and negative grades of 12-29 percent upstate and 27-57 percent in the suburbs.

More bad news for de Blasio – 53 percent of voters say they the idea of expanding charter schools, with even stronger support – 62 percent – in New York City. The Senate Republicans, who are no fans of the New York City mayor, have advanced legislation linking raising the charter cap by 100 schools and doing away with regional barriers to extension of mayoral control.

Fifty-nine percent of voters say they disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling education, and 54 percent say they trust the teachers union more than the governor to improve the system of educating kids in New York.

On the testing front, 64 percent of those polled said they don’t feel standardized tests are an accurate way to measure student performance, and 51 percent feel parents should be allowed to opt their kids out if they so choose.

Sixty-nine percent said teacher pay should not be based on student test performance, and 65 percent said that should not impact decisions about teacher tenure.

Q poll finds NY voters support EITC, oppose extension of NYC mayoral control. by liz_benjamin6490

Q-Poll: Cuomo’s Ratings Continue To Sag

A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning found Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s approval rating continues to fall as the state government grapples with multiple ethics and corruption scandals.

Voters, meanwhile, blame the concentration of power in state government in the “three men in a room” — two of whom this year were arrested in separate corruption cases brought by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.

The poll found 44 percent of New York voters approve of the job Cuomo is doing as governor, down from 50 percent approval shown in a March 17 survey.

Cuomo is having trouble across the political spectrum: Only 55 percent of Democratic voters approve of the job he is doing, while a majority of Republican voters — 58 percent — disapprove. The governor, who has sought to appeal to the political middle in New York, has split numbers with independents.

In the suburbs, a key barometer for the state, Cuomo’s approval stands at 48 percent, while his numbers upstate are lopsided: Only 34 percent approve his handling of the job.

The numbers track closely to a Siena College poll showing sagging numbers for Cuomo as well.

The poll comes after a spate of corruption scandals that have led to the arrests of the state’s top legislative leaders in the Assembly and Senate, Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

When it comes to ethics in Albany, voters by a margin of 52 percent to 32 percent believe Cuomo is part of the problem at the Capitol.

Lawmakers have shown little desire to take up ethics or campaign finance reform legislation in the wake of the recent arrest last month of Skelos, who resign his post as majority leader after he was accused of using his influence to aid the business interests of his adult son, Adam. Both men were indicted last week in federal court.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is pushing an omnibus bill designed to overhaul both state government and the campaign finance system, but it has found little enthusiasm among state lawmakers.

A large majority of voters, 67 percent, blame corruption in Albany on business being conducted behind closed doors by only three individuals: The governor, Assembly speaker and Senate majority leader, the poll found.

“Can Albany fix itself? A lot of New Yorkers don’t think so,” said Quinnipiac’s Mickey Carroll. “And most of them think Gov. Andrew Cuomo is part of the problem, not of the solution. There have been no charges of corruption leveled against the governor or anyone in his administration, but when the stench gets this bad, everyone starts to smell.”

The poll 66 percent of voters believe granting more power to individual lawmakers would help end corruption, though most voters by a margin of 60 percent to 26 percent disapprove of the job the Legislature is doing.

The state’s most popular elected official is U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has a 57 percent to 28 percent rating, while 53 percent approve of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s handling of her job.

Schneiderman’s rating stands at 51 percent to 22 percent, while Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s approval score is 43 percent to 21 percent.

The poll of 1,229 voters was conducted from May 28 through June 1. It has a margin of error of 2.8 percentage points.

060315 NY GOV + BP.pdf by Nick Reisman

TWC News/Siena College Poll: Upstate Voters Give Mixed Reviews For Education Policies

Upstate voters believe more money should have been included in the state budget for education aid and are skeptical the school reforms included in the spending plan will have an impact on public education in the state, according to an exclusive TWC News/Siena College poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found 57 percent of voters do not believe the $1.3 billion increase in school aid was enough for education. The 6.6 percent boost in school funding was more than the $1.1 billion as proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the initial budget proposal in January.

But the education plan also sets in motion the end of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, cutting it by half this year and ending it completely next year.

Nevertheless, only 22 percent of upstate voters polled believe the budget spends enough on education and 17 percent believe it spends too much on education aid.

The 2015-16 state budget is a lot more than just education spending, however. Cuomo sought to include a new teacher performance evaluation criteria in the spending plan and successfully won changes to teacher tenure requirements. The budget also includes a receivership program for schools deemed to be struggling or “failing.”

Cuomo has billed these changes as comprehensive reforms to the state’s public education system, but not all upstate voters are convinced.

More than half, 54 percent, disagree with the claim the education measures will bring about sweeping change in the public education system, the poll found.

Upstate voters give high marks to the budget making it easier for school districts to fire poor performing teachers: 57 percent of voters upstate said they support dismissing teachers deemed ineffective after two years, while 66 percent support requiring districts to remove teachers deemed ineffective after three years.

Still, an emphasis on testing in performance evaluations gets a mixed result for upstate voters.

Thirty-one percent of voters believe student scores on standardized tests should not count toward an evaluation while 43 percent believe examination results should have a quarter of the weight in an evaluation.

Few upstate voters believe there should be a heavy emphasis on testing: Only 16 percent believe test scores should account for half of a teacher’s evaluation as Cuomo initially sought.

The budget agreement with state lawmakers requires the state Department of Education to determine how much weight test scores should have in an evaluation versus in-classroom observation.

Not surprisingly, upstate voters want to retain some local control when it comes to putting struggling schools into receivership. Sixty-nine percent of voters want a troubled school to be dealt with on the local level, with 26 percent supporting the state taking over the school.

The poll of 52 upstate counties was conducted between April 6 and April 9. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

TWC0415 Crosstabs041415 by Nick Reisman

TWC News/Siena Poll: Upstate Voters Aren’t Impressed With Ethics Deal

Most upstate voters do not believe the ethics reforms included in the 2015-16 state budget agreement go far enough or will help curtail corruption, an exclusive Time Warner Cable News/Siena College poll released Monday evening found.

The poll, which surveyed voters in 52 upstate counties, found most upstate residents believe the state is headed in the wrong direction, 59 percent to 34 percent. Meanwhile, upstate residents give Gov. Andrew Cuomo low marks: 61 percent hold an unfavorable view of the governor, compared to 35 percent who hold him in a favorable light.

Cuomo is even underwater with upstate Democrats, were 50 percent have an unfavorable view of him. In the Buffalo area, a region of the state Cuomo has spent a considerable amount of time and attention on, Cuomo has an unfavorable rating of 55 percent, with 45 percent who view him favorably, the poll found.

Cuomo in February set out to pass what he said would be the most stringent ethics and disclosure measures in the nation — a push that was undertaken after the arrest of now former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on charges of fraud and extortion.

The ethics package in the budget was just the latest in a series of measures passed by lawmakers and agreed to by the governor following a public outcry after the arrest of a state lawmaker.

Overall, most voters do not believe the measures agreed to in the budget will change much: 73 percent of voters polled do not expect it to have much of an impact on corruption, compared to 24 percent who do.

Nevertheless, nearly half of voters supported the passage of yet another timely budget. Cuomo had threatened to hold up the budget process in order to achieve ethics measures in the spending plan.

The poll found 49 percent believe Cuomo did the right thing by agreeing to the budget so it could pass by the start of the new fiscal year, compared to 40 percent who believe he should have held out for more.

Last year, lawmakers agreed to new anti-corruption laws and an independent enforcement counsel at the state Board of Elections that came as the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption was closed.

At the very least, lawmakers and Cuomo seem to be taking their cues from voters on corruption concerns: A combined 90 percent of upstate voters believe corruption is either a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. But 77 percent of voters upstate polled said they agreed with critics of the state budget agreement that the ethics package did not go far enough.

Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed in the budget to have a package of measures including requiring lawyers to disclose their legal clients who they took on beginning next year. Fifty-two percent of voters say that requirement does not go far enough.

At the same time, the budget has new restrictions as to what lawmakers can spend with their campaign funds, such as rent or club dues. Not included in the agreement was blocking the use of campaign funds to pay for legal fees (which Cuomo himself is currently doing for representation in the ongoing inquiry surrounding the Moreland Commission’s closing).

Most upstate voters, 84 percent to 13 percent, believe legal fees should have been included in the list of restricted uses of campaign funds.

Still, upstate voters backed one agreement that was in the broader budget framework: 79 percent supporting stripping corrupt public officials of their pension through a constitutional amendment. Nevertheless, 27 percent believe it is a somewhat likely that lawmakers will ditch the amendment after the corruption talk dies down next year and not re-approve it.

Not surprisingly, 72 percent of voters polled oppose giving state lawmakers their first pay increase since 1999. The budget includes the creation of a commission that would study a potential pay hike for lawmakers and executive branch department chiefs.

The poll of 737 upstate voters was conducted from April 6 through April 9. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

TWC0415 Crosstabs041315 by Nick Reisman

Q Poll: NYers Back Disclosure From Elected Officials & Their Significant Others

An overwhelming majority of New York voters – 84 percent – support the idea of elected officials bring required to disclose the sources of their outside income and investments, a new Q poll found.

A smaller number, but still a majority of 64 percent, also believe the spouses and girlfriends of those same officials should be required to make public the source and size of their respective incomes. (The poll did not differentiate between legislative and executive disclosure proposals, which is the focus of debate between the governor and the Senate Republicans).

“Follow the money, New Yorkers say,” remarked Q pollster Mickey Carroll. “Overwhelmingly, they want legislators to tell how much they earn. Legislators say spouses and companions of government folks should have to tell all, too. Voters agree.”

Eighty-nine percent of poll respondents said government corruption is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem in the state today, but only 45 percent support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s threat of holding up this year’s budget in order to force the Legislature’s hand on ethics reform.

Fifty-four percent of voters disapprove of the way Cuomo is handling ethics in government, and 47 percent believe he’s part of the problem, not part of the solution.

Cuomo might be able to take some solace in the fact that 62 percent of New Yorkers disapprove of the job the Legislature is doing, compared to its 55-28 job approval rating last December.

There is strong support – 76 percent – for the idea that lawmaker convicted of a felony should lose their public pensions – a proposal included in the two-way deal struck by Cuomo and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, but one that requires a constitutional amendment to achieve. Support for this idea is strong across party, age, gender and regional groups, the poll found.

As for the claim that is widely made by good government groups and left leaning reformers that establishing a public campaign finance system would go a long way toward getting big money out of the political system and reducing corruption, New Yorkers aren’t really on board. Fifty-four precent oppose the creation of such a system for statewide elected officials and the Legislature.

Fifty-seven percent voiced support for a full-time Legislature with a complete ban on outside income, which is what reform advocates and AG Eric Schneiderman have been pushing – a proposal that goes considerably further than the governor wants at this point.

Speaking of Schneiderman, his approval rating is 45-22, while state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came in at 35-19.

March 19 Q poll on ethics. by liz_benjamin6490