UPDATED: Q-poll: NYers skeptical of cuts to budget, new workers’ pensions

Quinnipiac University’s latest poll of New Yorkers has some dismaying results for fiscal conservatives. Here’s some questions and results from the poll press release:

  • “To balance the city budget, if you had to choose, would you prefer raising taxes or cutting government programs and services?” 56 percent chose tax hikes, 34 percent chose service cuts, and 11 percent didn’t know. Only Staten Island failed to muster a majority against tax hikes, with just 37 percent in favor.
  • “To help balance the city budget would you support or oppose layoffs for city employees?” 28 percent supported layoffs; 66 percent opposed. Manhattanites mustered the most support, with 36 percent. Women in particular opposed layoffs, with only 19 percent in favor.
  • “To help balance the city budget, would you support or oppose a wage freeze for city workers?” 59 percent supported; 37 percent opposed.
  • “To help balance the city budget, would you support or oppose reducing pension benefits for new city workers?” 44 percent supported such reductions; 48 percent opposed. There was a big racial disparity here: 60 percent of respondents who identified themselves as white supported these reductions, nearly twice the share of black voters, who voiced 31 percent support, and Hispanics, who voiced 33 percent. This month was only the second time that Quinnipiac has asked this question. The last time the pollsters asked, in March, 50 percent of voters supported pension reductions for new workers. Without more data, it’s impossible to tell if this is a trend or a fluke or what.
UPDATE: E.J. points out that perhaps observers shouldn’t put too much stock in this poll.  ” ‘Reducing pension benefits for new city workers’ could, to a normal person, mean we’ve got this guy who just accepted a city job based in part on the expectation of a certain pension, and we’re now going to change it on him,” he notes. “Likewise, with tax hikes, poll respondents may assume the only alternative is cutting government programs and services they care about, without knowing that the city will be spending 11 percent more next year.”

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