6/30: NY State Senate Unrest Irks Voters

The unrest in the New York State Senate has topped the state’s political headlines, and not only have voters been listening, they are not happy.

©istockphoto.com/DenisTangney Jr

©istockphoto.com/DenisTangney Jr

76% of registered voters statewide have heard, at least, a good amount about the current chaos in the Senate.  This includes 31% of voters who have heard a great deal about the situation.  And, voters say they just don’t think their elected officials have their best interests at heart.  A whopping 84% of registered voters report that, from what they have heard, the situation is nothing more than a political power play.  In fact, just 12% view the wrangling as a serious effort to bring reform to Albany.  The sentiment that the Senate dispute is for political gain transcends party lines with 88% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans, and 82% of non-enrolled voters echoing this argument.

So, overall, how do voters feel about the Senate battle?  To put it bluntly, many are mad.  Seven in ten voters say they are angry about the unrest while 25% say they are not. Again, this feeling crosses party lines.  72% of Democrats and 69% Republicans express this emotion while 66% of non-enrolled voters say the same.

Table: Heard About NY State Senate Situation

Table: Description of NY State Senate Situation

Table: Angry About NY State Senate Situation

Nearly Two-Thirds Report Poor Job Performance of NY State Senate…Paterson Not Immune from Backlash

65% of New York State registered voters say the job the New York State Senate in Albany is doing is a poor one.  Just 11% of the state’s electorate says the legislative body is doing either an excellent or good job.  And, while Democrats and Republicans may not agree about their overall political ideas, they do agree that the Senate’s performance is shoddy.  64% of Democrats and 66% of Republicans view the Senate’s performance as poor.  67% of non-enrolled voters agree.

With Governor David Paterson’s approval rating at 21%, a Senate battle is probably one of the last things he needs on his plate.  So, how do voters view his handling of the situation? Nearly half of the state’s electorate disapproves of his efforts.  43% approve.

Table: NY State Senate Job Approval Rating

Table: Paterson’s Handling of NY State Senate Situation

Playing the Blame Game & Long-Term Effects

When it comes to pointing a finger at who’s to blame for the current Senate fiasco, voters divide.  38% say it’s the Democrats while 39% put the onus on the Republicans.  23% are unsure.  Not surprisingly, majorities within both the Democratic and Republican parties blame their rival party.  Non-enrolled voters divide.  Breaking down the numbers by region, a plurality of voters in New York City — 47% — blames the Republicans.  A plurality in the suburbs — 46% — points a finger at the Democrats.  Upstate voters divide with 40% blaming the Republicans and 37% blaming the Democrats.

Looking down the road, 61% of the New York State electorate believes the Senate will be less effective in the future as a result of the current battle in the chamber.  31%, however, believe the body will be more effective.  61% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans view the impact on the Senate’s future actions as negative while 66% of non-enrolled voters concur.

Table: Blame for NY State Senate Situation

Table: Long-Term Effect of NY State Senate Battle

Slim Majority View NY State Assembly As Doing Poor Job
Although the New York State Assembly has remained mostly out of the spotlight during the Senate battle, New York State voters aren’t cutting them any slack.  51% of the New York electorate views the Assembly’s job performance as poor, and just 18% say the legislative body is doing either an excellent or good job.  A majority of Republicans – 58% — compared with Democrats — 44% — say the Assembly needs to shape up.  54% of non-enrolled voters report the New York State Assembly is doing a poor job.  Looking across the state, more voters Upstate and in the suburbs give the body a subpar rating compared with those living in New York City.

Table: NY State Assembly Job Approval Rating

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

6/30: Paterson’s Approval Rating Still in the Tank…Voters Dissatisfied with Handling of NYS Senate Situation

6/30: Paterson’s Gubernatorial Prospects: Inches Closer to Giuliani…Dead Heat with Lazio

6/30: Two-Thirds Approve of Cuomo’s Job Performance

6/30: DiNapoli’s Approval Rating Consistent…Steady at 32%

Complete June 30, 2009 NYS Poll Release and Tables

Complete May 4, 2009 NYS Poll Tables