SIENA RESEARCH INSTITUTE

SIENA COLLEGE, LOUDONVILLE, NY
www.siena.edu/sri
For Immediate Release: Contact: PDF version; crosstabs; website: Monday, May 14, 2012 Steven Greenberg, 518-469-9858 www.Siena.edu/SRI/SNY

Siena College Poll:

Minimum Wage Hike & Business Tax Cuts Strongly Supported Obama and Gillibrand Still Have Large Leads in their 2012 Races
Cuomo Ratings Edge Down; Senate & Assembly Favorability Best in 3 Years Occupy Wall Street & Tea Party Both Viewed Unfavorably by Majority of Voters
Loudonville, NY. More than three-quarters of New Yorkers support raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50, and nearly two-thirds favor a $200 million package of small business tax cuts and credits, according to a new Siena College Research Institute poll of registered voters released today. Voters are closely divided on creating a system of public campaign financing and, by a three-to-one margin, oppose a legislative pay raise. President Obama currently leads Mitt Romney by 20 points, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand maintains better than two-to-one leads over all three potential Republican opponents. Although down a little, Governor Andrew Cuomo continues to be viewed favorably by more than two-thirds of voters and has a 56-43 positive job performance rating. Both the State Senate and State Assembly have the highest favorability ratings they’ve had in the three plus years Siena has been asking about the houses of the Legislature. Both Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are viewed negatively by a majority of voters. “By a resounding 78-17 percent margin, voters support increasing New York’s minimum wage from the current $7.25 to $8.50 per hour. Nearly nine in ten Democrats support it, as do three-quarters of independents and 58 percent of Republicans. At least 70 percent of voters from every region support the increase,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg. “About two-thirds of voters have heard or read a great deal or some about the issue and the vast majority would like to see the Legislature pass the minimum wage increase before session ends next month. “A smaller but still large majority of voters supports, by a 65-13 percent margin, a $200 million package of tax cuts and credits for small businesses aimed at spurring job creation,” Greenberg said. “At least 63 percent of voters from every party and region support a small business tax package.” Voters are divided on creating a system of public campaign financing with 40 percent supporting it and 36 percent opposing it. By a 65-21 percent margin, voters oppose increasing state legislators’ pay. – more –

Siena College Poll – May 14, 2012 – Page 2 “When it comes to public campaign financing, Democrats say yes, Republicans say no and independents are evenly divided,” Greenberg said. “However, when it comes to increasing the pay of state legislators, Republicans, Democrats and independents all agree – by a large margin – and the answer is no. A majority of downstaters oppose a legislative pay raise and more than eight in ten upstaters feel that way.” Obama’s Ratings Improve Slightly, However, His Lead Over Romney – Still 20 Points – Drops a Little Obama is viewed favorably by 60 percent of voters, unfavorably by 38 percent (up slightly from 58-39 percent last month). His job performance is 47 percent positive, 52 percent negative (up a little from 45-54 percent last month), and 54 percent continue to say he should be re-elected. Romney has a negative 33-57 favorability rating. “Obama has a 60 percent favorable rating, compared to Romney’s 57 percent unfavorable rating, so it’s not particularly surprising that with a two-to-one Democratic enrollment edge, in a horse race, Obama leads Romney 57-37 percent, down a little from April’s 60-35 percent lead,” Greenberg said. “Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Romney’s support among Republicans and independents has strengthened. Among New York Republicans, 59 percent say they are now very (17 percent) or somewhat (42 percent) enthusiastic about Romney’s candidacy, while 40 percent say they not very (21 percent) or at all (19 percent) enthusiastic.” Cuomo – Still Strong with Voters – Sees Favorability and Job Performance Ratings Edge Down a Little Cuomo is viewed favorably by 68 percent of voters and he’s viewed unfavorably by 24 percent (down a little from 73-22 percent last month). Fifty-six percent of voters say he’s doing an excellent or good job as governor, compared to 43 percent who say he’s doing a fair or poor job (down from last month’s 63-36 percent). “While 68 percent ties for the lowest favorable rating Cuomo has had since becoming governor, he continues to be viewed favorably by nearly three-quarters of Democrats and more than two-thirds of Republicans. He is viewed favorably by 73 percent of downstate voters and 61 percent of upstaters,” Greenberg said. “And despite a small drop in his favorability rating this month, less than one-quarter of voters view Cuomo unfavorably.” Voters Views on the Legislature and Their Individual Legislators Improve to Highest Point A small plurality, 46 percent, view the State Senate favorably, compared to 43 percent unfavorably (up from 4246 percent in March). By a 65-24 percent margin, voters have a favorable view of their state senator (up from 5530 percent in July). The Assembly has a 42-44 percent favorability rating (up from 37-49 percent in March), and by a margin of 54-24 percent (up from 47-29 percent in July) voters view their Assembly Member favorably. “One year ago, both the Assembly and the Senate had favorability ratings that were negative by more than 20 points. While the Legislature’s standing with voters is not nearly as strong as the Governor’s, it is a marked improvement and a record high favorability rating for each house,” Greenberg said. – more –

Siena College Poll – May 14, 2012 – Page 3 Plurality Inclined to Re-elect their State Senator; Majority Want Democrats to Win Control in November “Nearly half, 47 percent, of voters say they are inclined to re-elect their incumbent state senator, while 34 percent would prefer ‘someone else.’ By a two-to-one margin, Democrats say they will re-elect, while a plurality of Republicans prefer ‘someone else’ and independents are nearly evenly divided,” Greenberg said. “By a 56-38 percent margin voters say they would like to see Democrats win control of the State Senate,” Greenberg said. “The overall response clearly reflects the Democrats’ huge enrollment advantage, as more than 80 percent of Republicans want to see the GOP in control and more than 80 percent of Democrats want their party in control. By a small 48-43 percent margin independents say they want to see the Democrats in control.” Gillibrand Continues to Have Better than Two-to-One Leads Over all Potential Republican Opponents “Far more known than any of her potential opponents and with a majority of voters prepared to re-elect her, Gillibrand continues to look strong less than six months until Election Day as she seeks her first full six-year term. She leads Congressman Bob Turner and Wendy Long by 34 points each and she leads Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos by 35 points,” Greenberg said. “Two-thirds of Republicans are undecided on which candidate they support to challenge Gillibrand, with primary day just six weeks away.” Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party Movements Each Viewed Unfavorably by Most New York Voters The Tea Party has a negative 30-58 percent favorability rating (up slightly from 28-60 percent in November) and Occupy Wall Street has a negative 38-52 percent favorability rating (down from 45-44 percent in November). “While half of Democrats view Occupy favorably and a small majority of Republicans view the Tea Party favorably, Republicans are very unfavorable toward Occupy and Democrats are very unfavorable toward the Tea Party,” Greenberg said. “Independents are unfavorable toward both, by very similar margins.” Majority Continues to See NY Headed on Right Track; Smaller Majority Sees Country on Wrong Track “Identical to last month, by a 55-34 percent margin, voters say the state is headed on the right track, and not in the wrong direction. At least half of voters have said New York is on the right track for five consecutive months,” Greenberg said. “Although a majority of New Yorkers continues to believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, the gap has narrowed to 42-51 percent, an improvement from last month’s 38-54 percent, and the best it’s been since February.” ###
This Siena College Poll was conducted May 6-10, 2012 by telephone calls to 766 New York State registered voters. It has a margin of error of + 3.5 percentage points. There were 205 Republicans included with a margin of error of + 6.8 percent. Data was statistically adjusted by age, party and gender to ensure representativeness. Sampling was conducted via random digit dialing to landline and cell phones weighted to reflect known population patterns. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in New York State. SRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, call Steve Greenberg at (518) 469-9858. For survey cross-tabs and frequencies: www.Siena.edu/SRI/SNY.

SIENA RESEARCH INSTITUTE
SIENA COLLEGE, LOUDONVILLE, NY
www.siena.edu/sri

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
Q. 3 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Andrew Cuomo? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 17 FAVORABLE UNFAVORABLE 68 24 73 22 69 25 74 18 73 20 72 22 71 22 72 18 69 22 71 21 68 21 71 20 73 18 69 20 77 16 70 17 77 (2/11) 42 (10/06) 44 (8/06, 10/06) 14 (8/09) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 8 6 6 8 7 6 7 10 8 8 12 9 8 11 7 13 24 (1/06, 2/06, 9/07) 3 (10/20/10)

How would you rate the job that Andrew Cuomo is doing as Governor? Would you rate it excellent, good, fair, or poor? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR POOR DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 14 42 33 10 1 16 47 29 7 1 14 43 33 9 1 14 47 31 6 2 17 45 29 8 2 12 44 33 9 2 11 47 32 9 2 12 43 36 7 2 12 46 31 9 2 15 43 32 8 1 11 44 32 9 5 9 43 36 9 3 11 43 34 7 4 8 43 34 7 8 10 47 29 4 10 10 34 24 4 28 17 (1/12) 47 (4/12, etc.) 36 (9/11, 5/11) 10 (5/12) 28 (1/11) 8 (3/11) 34 (1/11) 24 (1/11) 4 (2/11, 1/11) 1 (5/12, etc.)

Q. 13

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the New York State Assembly? DATE May 2012 March 2012 January 2012 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 March 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 42 37 39 38 26 32 30 29 42 (5/12) 25 (7/10) UNFAVORABLE 44 49 46 47 56 54 56 57 61 (7/10) 42 (2/09) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 14 14 15 15 18 14 14 14 18 (6/11, 2/09) 12 (1/10)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 14 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about your New York State Assembly Member? DATE May 2012 July 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 15 FAVORABLE 54 47 54 (5/12) 47 (6/11) UNFAVORABLE 24 29 29 (6/11) 24 (5/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 21 25 25 (6/11) 21 (5/12)

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the New York State Senate? DATE May 2012 March 2012 January 2012 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 March 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 46 42 39 41 30 33 32 33 46 (5/12) 20 (7/09) UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 43 11 46 12 49 13 49 10 56 14 56 12 60 8 56 11 74 (7/09) 14 (6/11) 43 (5/12, 2/09) 6 (7/09)

Q. 16

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about your New York State Senate Member? DATE May 2012 July 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 65 55 65 (5/12) 55 (6/11) UNFAVORABLE 24 30 30 (6/11) 24 (5/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 11 15 5 (6/11) 11 (5/12)

Q. 11

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Occupy Wall Street? DATE May 2012 November 2011 October 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 38 45 49 49 (10/11) 38 (5/12) UNFAVORABLE 52 44 38 52 (5/12) 38 (10/11) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 10 11 13 13 (10/11) 10 (5/12)

Q. 12

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the Tea Party Movement? DATE May 2012 November 2011 October 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 30 58 11 28 60 12 28 60 12 40 (10/5/10) 60 (11/11, 10/11) 18 (11/10, 9/10) 28 (11/11, 10/11) 49 (11/10) 9 (10/31/10)

Q. 10

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Charles Schumer? DATE May 2012 September 2011 May 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 62 59 62 70 (7/05) 54 (6/10) UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 29 9 30 11 30 8 32 (10/31/10, 9/10, 6/10) 17 (2/05) 20 (2/05, 11/06) 4 (10/31/10)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 4 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Barack Obama? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 18 FAVORABLE 60 58 61 64 59 57 55 52 52 57 59 62 63 60 62 61 81 (1/09) 48 (11/06) UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 38 2 39 3 36 3 34 2 38 3 40 3 43 3 45 2 45 3 39 4 38 4 36 2 34 3 37 3 35 3 36 3 46 (10/31/10) 40 (11/06) 10 (1/09) 2 (5/12, etc.)

How would you rate the job that Barack Obama is doing as President? Would you rate it excellent, good, fair, or poor? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER EXCELLENT GOOD 15 32 13 32 16 34 15 34 12 34 10 33 9 29 11 29 10 26 13 32 16 37 16 (3/12, 5/11) 37 (5/11) 9 (10/11) 26 (8/11) FAIR 25 25 23 27 26 28 32 28 30 30 24 32 (10/11) 23 (3/12) POOR DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 27 0 29 0 26 0 24 0 27 0 29 0 30 0 33 0 33 0 25 1 23 0 33 (9/11, 8/11) 1 (7/11) 23 (5/11) 0 (many)

Q. 19

Barack Obama is running for re-election as President this year. I know it’s a ways off, but as things stand now, would you vote to re-elect him or would you prefer someone else?  DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER RE-ELECT PREFER SOMEONE ELSE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 54 42 3 54 41 5 56 38 6 58 36 5 55 40 5 51 42 7 48 45 7 47 47 6 47 45 8 50 41 9 52 44 4 54 39 6 52 39 9 49 43 8 49 43 8 50 40 10 58 (2/12) 47 (9/11, 12/10) 10 (1/11, 12/10) 43 (12/10) 36 (2/12) 3 (5/12)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 9 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Mitt Romney? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 42 FAVORABLE 33 35 32 35 36 34 30 32 36 (11/11) 25 (12/07) UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 57 10 57 8 57 10 55 10 48 16 45 21 46 24 46 21 57 (5/12, 4/12, 3/12) 35 (12/07) 40 (12/07) 8 (4/12)

If the 2012 election for President was held today and the candidates were Barack Obama on the Democratic line and Mitt Romney on the Republican line, who would you vote for? (Order of candidates was rotated.) DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER OBAMA 57 60 60 63 59 55 56 55 63 (2/12) 55 (10/11, 8/11) ROMNEY DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 37 6 35 5 34 6 31 6 34 7 37 8 36 8 37 8 37 (5/12, 10/11, 8/11) 8 (10/11, 9/11, 8/11) 31 (2/12) 5 (4/12)

Q. 5

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Kirsten Gillibrand? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 February 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE 48 51 54 52 49 49 46 46 46 49 51 57 57 (2/11) 26 (3/09) UNFAVORABLE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 27 25 25 24 24 22 20 29 25 26 25 26 24 30 25 29 24 30 21 30 20 29 18 25 34 (10/31/10) 56 (1/09) 14 (1/09) 14 (10/31/10)

Q. 6

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about George Maragos? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER FAVORABLE UNFAVORABLE 8 13 6 12 5 17 8 14 8 12 5 14 8 (5/12, 2/12, 1/12) 17 (3/12) 5 (3/12, 11/11) 6 (5/10) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 80 82 78 78 79 82 89 (5/10) 78 (3/12, 2/12)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 7 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Wendy Long? DATE May 2012 April 2012 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 8 DATE May 2012 April 2012 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 20 FAVORABLE 10 8 10 (5/12) 8 (4/12) FAVORABLE 12 16 16 (4/12) 12 (5/12) UNFAVORABLE 9 10 10 (4/12) 9 (5/12) UNFAVORABLE 16 17 17 (4/12) 16 (5/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 81 82 82 (4/12) 81 (5/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 72 67 72 (5/12) 67 (4/12)

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion about Bob Turner?

Kirsten Gillibrand is running for re-election as United State Senator this year. As things stand now would you vote to re-elect her or would you prefer someone else?  DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 February 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER RE-ELECT PREFER SOMEONE ELSE DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 54 32 13 54 28 18 58 30 12 53 27 20 53 32 16 53 30 17 46 34 21 45 34 22 49 34 18 50 29 21 50 30 20 52 29 19 58 (3/12) 34 (10/11, 9/11, 8/11) 22 (9/11) 45 (9/11) 27 (2/12) 12 (3/12)

Q. 40

(REPUBLICANS ONLY) Looking ahead to the upcoming election for United States Senator from New York. If the Republican primary for U.S. Senate was held today and the candidates were Wendy Long, George Maragos, and Bob Turner, who would you vote for? (Order of candidates was rotated.) DATE May 2012 April 2012 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER WENDY LONG 12 10 12 (5/12) 10 (4/12) GEORGE MARAGOS 6 5 6 (5/12) 5 (4/12) BOB DON’T KNOW/ TURNER NO OPINION 15 67 19 66 19 (4/12) 67 (5/12) 15 (5/12) 66 (4/12)

Q. 43

If that election for U.S. Senator was held today and the candidates were Kirsten Gillibrand on the Democratic line and Wendy Long on the Republican line, who would you vote for? (Order of candidates was rotated.) DATE May 2012 April 2012 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER GILLIBRAND 60 63 63 (4/12) 60 (5/12) LONG 26 23 26 (5/12) 23 (4/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 14 14 14 (5/12, 4/12) 14 (5/12, 4/12)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 44 If that election for U.S. Senator was held today and the candidates were Kirsten Gillibrand on the Democratic line and George Maragos on the Republican line, who would you vote for? (Order of candidates was rotated.) DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER Q. 45 GILLIBRAND 60 65 68 63 63 65 68 (3/12) 60 (5/12) MARAGOS 25 21 19 20 22 17 25 (5/12) 17 (11/11) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 15 14 13 17 15 18 18 (11/11) 13 (3/12)

If that election for U.S. Senator was held today and the candidates were Kirsten Gillibrand on the Democratic line and Bob Turner on the Republican line, who would you vote for? (Order of candidates was rotated.) DATE May 2012 April 2012 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER GILLIBRAND 59 65 65 (4/12) 59 (5/12) TURNER 25 24 25 (5/12) 24 (4/12) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 15 11 15 (5/12) 11 (4/12)

Q. 2

Is the United States on the right track, or is it headed in the wrong direction? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER RIGHT TRACK WRONG DIRECTION 42 51 38 54 40 52 42 51 37 56 26 66 22 71 26 66 20 74 35 55 43 49 34 57 44 47 36 54 62 (5/09) 74 (8/11) 19 (10/08) 24 (12/09) DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 7 8 8 7 7 8 7 8 6 10 9 9 9 10 17 (9/08) 6 (8/11)

Q. 23

How would you describe the fiscal condition of New York State right now? Would you describe it as excellent, good, fair, or poor? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER EXCELLENT GOOD FAIR 2 16 47 1 17 48 1 15 46 0 11 38 1 11 36 1 11 39 1 8 40 0 9 33 1 8 32 1 7 30 0 7 26 2 (5/12) 17 (4/12) 48 (4/12) 0 (many) 6 (3/22/10, etc.) 25 (3/22/10) POOR DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 34 1 33 1 37 1 50 1 50 1 48 1 51 1 57 1 58 0 62 1 66 1 67 (3/22/10) 4 (9/08) 33 (4/12) 0 (4/11, etc.)

Siena College Poll Trends – May 2012
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Q. 1 Is New York State on the right track, or is it headed in the wrong direction? DATE May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 HIGHEST EVER LOWEST EVER RIGHT TRACK WRONG DIRECTION DON’T KNOW/NO OPINION 55 34 10 55 34 11 50 40 10 52 36 12 51 38 11 42 46 12 40 48 12 45 44 10 44 47 10 48 40 12 38 47 15 40 49 11 46 41 13 43 45 12 47 39 14 36 50 14 55 (5/12, 4/12) 76 (10/31/10) 30 (1/07) 14 (10/10) 26 (1/07) 9 (7/10)

Poll Trend Notes:

* All surveys are of registered voters except for the polls of October 2010, September and October 2008, and September and October 2006, which are polls of likely voters. Trends reflect questions asked at least twice since the first Siena College Poll in February 2005. Results listed here include all times questions have been asked since January 2011. “Highest Ever” and “Lowest Ever” is provided at the bottom of each question.  Inconsequential wording change.

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