Poll: Voters Say No To Raises, Yes To Taxing Rich

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A new Siena poll today gauges voters’ support on a variety of issues, and for one they are not in favor of increasing the pay for judges or state legislators.

“Voters were asked a series of 11 questions, seeking their input on how they would vote on potential legislative proposals if they got to be a State Senator for a day,” said Steven Greenberg, Siena’s pollster. “One thing that is clear is that they are certainly not in the mood to give raises to elected officials.”

Voters are less opposed to judges getting a pay raise, but still oppose it by a 52-43 percent margin. A panel is looking into raises for judges. But voters are less supportive of giving a pay raise to legislators, with 69 percent opposed to it. Neither group has had a pay raise in a decade.

As a Quinnipiac poll last week also showed, voters by more than a three-to-one margin are against cutting education by $1 billion to help close the state’s $9 billion budget deficit, and a majority also are opposed to cutting Medicaid and health care by $1 billion.

Voters, though, prefer taxing the rich, if they were a senator for a day, with 73 percent supporting increasing income taxes on those who make more than $1 million a year. In 2008, the Legislature did vote to increase taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year, though it is set to sunset after next year.

On other questions, the poll found that two-thirds of voters, not surprisingly, want Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo’s upcoming Inaugural Address to focus on fiscal issues, with 44 percent saying he should focus on the economy and 22 percent saying the focus should be the state’s budget woes.

The poll also found that President Obama’s favorability rating has fallen to the lowest point since he took office, with 55 percent having a favorable view of him and 42 percent having an unfavorable view.

Lastly, voters knew little about legislative leaders and who they do know — Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan — they don’t like.

Only 22 percent of voters viewed Silver favorably and 42 viewed him unfavorably. For Republican Senate Leader Dean Skelos, he is unknown to 71 percent of voters, while Senate Democrat Leader John Sampson is unknown to 76 percent of voters and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb is unknown to 82 percent of voters.

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  1. What has the Legislators done to deserve a pay raise? Nothing! You have to show up for work and get something done before you can ask for a raise. When they get this great state back to where it should be, the maybe, they can be considered for a raise. I don’t know how some of them got re-elected.

    It is a shame that the polls show that a lot of people don’t even know who their leaders are. It shows how much apathy there is. Get involved people; it is the only way to get the things you want done. Support those who are doing their job, and get rid of those who aren’t. I believe we are going to see some great changes with Gov. Cuomo.