March 26, 2010
3/26: Voters Bash Paterson on Budget
With New York State’s budget deadline looming, how do registered voters statewide think Governor David Paterson is handling the state’s budget? Nearly two-thirds — 64% — disapprove of the governor’s budgetary skills while 28% approve. 8% are unsure.
Voters’ dissatisfaction with the governor on this issue has grown since Marist last asked it earlier this month. In its March 9th survey, 58% of voters panned Paterson’s fiscal ability compared with 35% who applauded it. 7% were unsure.
“Paterson may have nixed his election plans in order to govern New York, but voters aren’t buying it,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “His numbers remain at historic lows.”
Although Paterson’s ranking on the budget is low, it’s not as low as his overall job approval rating. Overwhelmingly, voters disapprove of how he is doing as governor. Just 17% believe he is doing either an excellent or good job in office. This proportion matches his lowest approval rating which he received last September. Currently, 39% say he is doing a fair job, and another 41% think he is performing poorly. Just 3% are unsure.
When Marist last asked about the governor’s approval rating in its March 9th poll, 19% gave him high marks, 43% said he was doing an average job, and 36% reported he was performing poorly. 2% were unsure.
“Pass Budget On Time,” Say 59% of Voters
Nearly six in ten members of the statewide electorate — 59% — think it is imperative that the New York State budget be passed by its April 1st deadline. This includes 32% who say that meeting the deadline matters a great deal and 27% who report it means a good amount to them. On the other hand, it matters little to 23% of voters and not at all to 16%. 2% are unsure.
Although Republicans place greater importance on passing the budget on time, a majority of Democrats agree. 68% of Republicans say approving the budget by next Thursday matters either a great or good amount to them while 55% of Democrats say the same. 58% of non-enrolled voters share this view.
Poor Ratings for NYS Senate and Assembly
Governor Paterson isn’t the only one in the doghouse among New York voters. The State Senate and Assembly aren’t faring better. 83% of voters aren’t happy with the Senate’s performance including nearly half — 48% — who say it is performing poorly and 35% who report it is doing a fair job. Just 14% believe the Senate is doing either an excellent or good job in office. 3% are unsure.
As for the State Assembly, 83% are dissatisfied with its job performance. This includes 47% who say it is doing a poor job and 36% who believe the job it is doing is just fair. Only 13% think it is doing either an excellent or good job in office. 4% are unsure. Here, too, little has changed since Marist’s previous poll.
Dismal View of the Direction of State
With the low approval ratings of Governor Paterson, the State Senate, and the State Assembly, it’s not surprising that voters think the state needs to be re-directed.
Nearly eight in ten members of the electorate — 78% — say the state is headed in the wrong direction. This is the greatest proportion of voters in decades who think the direction of the state needs to be changed. The figure has been ticking up since Paterson took office in 2008. When Marist last asked it in its March 2nd survey, 76% thought the state should alter its course.
In fact, voters are so dissatisfied with state government that 71% report major changes are needed, and another 15% think minor changes are needed. 13% believe the situation is so bad that state government is broken and beyond repair. Only 1% report no changes are needed.
When Marist last asked this question in February, 67% thought major changes were needed, and 21% reported minor changes would fix the problems in state government. 12% said the way things are done in state government were broken and beyond repair, and fewer than 1% believed no change was called for.
Ravitch’s Name Recognition Grows
The recent scandals focusing on Governor Paterson have drawn Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch into the public’s view, and more voters have formed an opinion about his job performance.
Although 29% of voters statewide still say they have either never heard of or are unsure how to rate Ravitch, that proportion has fallen since Marist’s March 9th survey. At that time, 41% did not have a clear impression of him.
So, where does his approval rating stand? 25% currently report Ravitch is doing an excellent or good job in office, 35% think he is doing a fair job, and 11% say he is performing poorly. Earlier this month, 21% thought he was executing his duties at an above average level, 30% believed Ravitch was doing an average job, and 8% believed he was falling short.
DiNapoli Approval Rating Dips
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has consistently struggled to make inroads with the state’s electorate, and the news has gotten worse.
29% currently believe the comptroller is doing either an excellent or good job in office. This is a decrease from Marist’s March 3rd survey when 34% gave him a thumbs-up. 31% now say he is doing a fair job, and 9% believe he is performing poorly. And, 31% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him. When Marist last asked about DiNapoli, 30% said he was doing an average job, 9% thought he was performing below average, and 27% were unsure.