The Empire Center for Public Policy today announced the results of its first statewide “Empire Index” poll, examining public sentiment and awareness of major policy issues.

The poll, conducted in late January and early February by Morning Consult, surveyed 959 registered voters in New York. The toplines and crosstabs can be viewed here.

“The most surprising finding in this poll was that most people think New York spends less than one-third of what it actually does on public schools,” said Tim Hoefer, president & CEO. “This poll helps us understand how public policy is affecting people, how people understand public policy and how we can make living and working in New York better.”

Key findings on education included:

  • Asked to estimate the annual per-pupil cost of educating a student in New York’s public school system, the median response was $8,000, less than one-third of the actual cost ($26,571 in the most recent federal data).
  • 51 percent of respondents hadn’t heard of or weren’t familiar with the concept of “school choice” in education.
  • Among parents with students in public schools (n=200), 88 percent said they were very or somewhat satisfied with teacher-student ratios.

Key findings on energy included:

  • 65 percent of respondents hadn’t heard of or weren’t familiar with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the state’s sweeping 2019 climate law.
  • Asked what respondents would be “willing to pay on your monthly energy bill for cleaner energy,” a total of 60 percent indicated less than $20, with 31 percent saying “nothing” and 18 percent saying “more than nothing but no more than $10 per month.”

Other highlights included:

  • 55 percent of respondents said New York State is on the wrong track, while 45 percent said the state is going in the right direction.
  • Looking at their own town or city, 57 percent said things were going in the right direction while 43 percent said they were on the wrong track.
  • 28 percent said their quality of life was worse or much worse in 2024 compared to 2023, while 26 percent said it was better or much better.
  • 54 percent said the cost of living was worse or much worse in 2024 compared to 2023, while 19 percent said it was better or much better.
  • Asked to select the top three challenges to living in New York from a list of 16 items:
    • 63 percent said the cost of living;
    • 50 percent said high taxes;
    • 36 percent said crime;
    • 28 percent said the cost or availability of housing; and
    • 27 percent said the economic outlook.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

 

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