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42% of NY‘embarrassed’ by pols: Poll

Not surprisingly, a Quinnipiac poll released Monday morning found that voters disapprove of the stalemate in Albany by a nearly 4-to-1 margin, with respondents evenly parsing out blame between Democrats, Republicans and the governor.

“Dysfunctionali That could be the automatic adjective for Albany. Maybe we should find a more vivid word. Three-quarters of New York state voters say their state government doesn’t work,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll surveyed 2,477 registered voters in New York and found that 78 percent believe the state government is dysfunctional and the recent logjam in the state Senate made 42 percent of those polled embarrassed to be New Yorkers.

The state Senate chamber has remained empty since June 8, when Sens. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) and Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) joined Republicans in leading a disputed coup in the legislative body. The Senate had not met for two weeks before Gov. David Paterson called an extraordinary session for Tuesday at 3 p.m.

But although 55 percent of those surveyed said they were not embarrassed by the situation, 71 percent said they were “somewhat dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with the way things were going.

“Truth remains goofier than fiction. We’re only sort of embarrassed — but we’re really worried — about the Senate standoff. Overwhelmingly, voters fear that it imperils the chances of passing important legislation,” Carroll said.

Respondents to the poll split the blame for the dysfunction in Albany, according to Carroll, with 25 percent pointing to the Republicans and 21 percent citing the Democrats.

Even though Paterson is no longer a member of the Senate, 23 percent blamed him for the debacle and about 31 percent of those surveyed said they were not sure who was to blame.

Despite the debacle, 48 percent of voters in all parties polled said their home district state senator deserved to be re-elected in 2010, compared with 27 percent who said they should not.

“And while almost nobody likes the ‘Legislature,’ that big impersonal word, many voters still back their own state senator, a person with a name and face they know,” Carroll said.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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