Simply put, registered voters in New York State are dissatisfied with state government. 67% of the electorate thinks the way things are done in Albany need major changes. 21% report minor changes are needed. And, more than one-tenth of the electorate — 12% — think state government is broken and beyond repair. When Marist last asked this question in November, similar proportions of the New York State electorate agreed.
“In these serious times, voters find Albany coming up way short in providing direction and leadership,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “For voters, it’s all about state government dysfunction.”
Although Governor David Paterson’s approval rating stands at a dreadful 26%, the New York State Senate and Assembly fare worse in voters’ eyes. Only 17% of voters statewide believe the State Senate is doing either an excellent or good job. One-third reports its performance is mediocre while nearly half — 48% — says the legislative body is performing poorly. Nearly identical proportions of voters reported this to be the case in Marist’s November survey.
The New York State Assembly isn’t immune from voters’ disgust. Just 17% view the Assembly as doing an above average job. 35% see the body as doing a fair job while 45% think it is performing below average. In Marist’s November poll, 13% thought the Assembly was doing either an excellent or good job, 36% rated it as fair, and 47% gave it a thumbs-down.
Current State Legislators’ 2010 Prospects: Voters’ Dissatisfaction a Lingering Effect?
So, what does all of this mean for incumbents running for re-election in 2010? Currently, 46% of the statewide electorate report that if the election were held today, they would vote for their current state senator while 41% say they would vote for someone else. 13% are unsure.
Voters are torn when it comes to the current members of the State Assembly. 44% report they would support their incumbent if this year’s election were held today while 41% would back a challenger. 15% are unsure.
Little has changed on either of these questions since Marist’s November survey.
On both questions, political party makes a difference. Majorities of Democrats, in both instances, plan to support the incumbent. When it comes to New York Republicans, a majority — 54% — plan to vote for a new state senator. And, nearly half –– 48% — would cast their ballot for a new representative in the Assembly.
Wrong Way State
74% of New York State registered voters think the state is on the wrong course compared with 21% who say it is heading in the right direction. Voters’ concerns have not changed since Marist’s November survey when 75% thought the state was moving along the wrong path, and one-fifth reported it was on track.