JOSEPH SPECTOR http://rochesterdemocrat.ny.newsmemory.com/
ALBANY BUREAU CHIEF
ALBANY — New Yorkers strongly opposed giving the state Legislature its first raise since 1999, and they remained split over whether the state should have moved forward with hydraulic fracturing, a Siena College poll Friday found. Voters opposed a legislative pay raise, 63 percent to 28 percent, amid stalled talks between state leaders over exchanging a pay raise this month for ethics reforms.
A deal appears unlikely.
Increasing lawmakers base pay of $79,500 was least popular upstate, where salaries and cost of living are less than downstate. Seventy-four percent of upstate voters opposed the pay raise.
“An issue that unifies New York voters is a legislative pay raise,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg in a statement. “It’s opposed by strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents, downstaters and upstaters—upstaters really hate the idea—blacks and whites, young and old.”
On Wednesday, the state concluded it would ban fracking—a controversial decision that ends eight years of uncertainty over whether the state would proceed with the controversial drilling technique.
The poll was taken before the decision, but it showed a divide consistent with polls in recent years: an even split in voter opinion. In the poll, 38 percent opposed fracking and 35 percent supported it.
Despite voters being evenly split upstate, the state’s tough gun-control law called the SAFE Act was supported, 58 percent to 33 percent, statewide.
Voters were also evenly divided on the Dream Act that would provide tuition assistance to illegal immigrants, with 44 percent supporting it and 48 percent opposing it.
Meanwhile, voters by a 55 percent to 30 percent margin believed that the Staten Island grand jury investigating the death of Eric Garner should have brought charges against the police officer who choked him.