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Baruch College Survey Research Launches First New York City "SAT Score": 51% -- OK But Not Great

  • Mayor's Numbers Up Slightly
  • New Yorkers Happy With QoL and City Services
  • Split On Direction of City
  • Jobs & Economy Top Priority
  • Walcott Job So Far: Most Don't Know, But Like What They See
  • Yes! To Living Wage, Paid Sick Days, Minimum Wage Hike


The first New York City SAT score -- Satisfaction, Approval, and Trend score -- released today, is at 51%, showing a positive, but hardly enthusiastic view of the city administration. The score is a composite of 3 questions measuring how New Yorkers feel about the Mayor, about city services and about the direction of the city itself on a 0-100% scale. The score is an average of the positive responses to these three questions. The NYC SAT score and other findings are from a survey of 1207 adult New York City residents conducted by Baruch College Survey Research from April 26 to May 9, 2011. The NYC SAT score will be tracked regularly by Baruch College Survey Research.

The highest scores come from the young (61%) the wealthy (61%), men (56%), and Manhattanites (58%), while Blacks (44%) and Hispanics (46%), women (47%), and Bronx residents(42%) give the city its lowest marks

Satisfaction with City Services

Good news for the Bloomberg administration.: Two of three New Yorkers are satisfied with city services (65%); one-third (32%) are dissatisfied. The under-30s are the most likely to be satisfied (74%) but a majority of all demographic, geographic and political groups are generally satisfied with city services.

Approval of Mayor's Job Performance

Michael Bloomberg gets mixed reviews on his mayoral job performance: 46% approve and 41% disapprove. This is better than the ratings he had been receiving following the snow and Cathy Black debacles. It may be a sign that with the new Chancellor and a focus on security and gay marriage, the Mayor is beginning to make a comeback.

As has been true for much of his term in office, the Mayor gets his widest approval from the wealthy (61% of those with incomes over $100,000 approve; 32% disapprove), Republicans (55% approve; 38% disapprove), Manhattanites (53%; 37% disapprove), and those who see the city moving in the right direction (70% approve; 18%disapprove). He gets his lowest marks from black New Yorkers (48% disapprove; 39% approve), Democrats (47% disapprove; 40% approve), Bronx residents (45% disapprove) and those who see the city moving on the wrong track (62% disapprove). Men approve of how the Mayor is handling his job more than women -- 50% vs. 42%, who are slightly more disapproving than approving (40%).

Trend: City in Right Direction or Wrong Track?

New Yorkers are divided on the direction of the city: 42% see it going in the right direction and 46% say it's on the wrong track. The young (53% right/37% wrong), the wealthy (51% right/40% wrong), men (47% right/42%wrong), Manhattanites (49% right/38% wrong), and the Mayor's supporters (63% right/27% wrong), are most in agreement with the city's direction. Black New Yorkers (35%right/57% wrong), women (37% right/ 49% wrong), Hispanics (36% right/52% wrong), Bronx residents (33% right/ 57% wrong), and those who disapprove of the Mayor (18% right/70% wrong) are less convinced.


Two of three New Yorkers (67%) are satisfied with the quality of life in the city (32% are dissatisfied). The young are most enthusiastic about the city's quality of life, with more than three quarters (78%; 21% dissatisfied) saying they are satisfied, while the oldest New Yorkers are not far behind at 68% satisfied (21% dissatisfied). At least 60% of every subgroup are pleased with the city's quality of life.

Walcott Job So Far: Most Don't Know, But Like When They See

A majority of adult New Yorkers -- 54% -- are not sure of how Dennis Walcott is doing as New York City schools chancellor.  Among the rest, Walcott gets good grades from twice as many who give him bad marks 30% vs 14%.

There are little or no differences or clear patterns among adult New Yorkers across, demographic, socio-economic, geographic, and partisan lines, with the youngest (18-29) the most expressing approval -- 40%, a plurality. New Yorkers with no college are somewhat more approving of Walcott's job performance than those with at least some college.

Contact with NYC Government/Most Not Satisfied

Frequency. Fully 3 in 10 adult New Workers interviewed by Baruch College Survey Research have tried over the previous 12 month to get government officials to pay attention to something that concerned the respondents personally. Age, income, borough of residence and voter registration matter when it comes to contacting city officials on issues of personal concern to New Yorker. Generally, more educated and higher earning New Yorkers more frequently contacted city government, as did the oldest and youngest New Yorkers, and registered voters.

(Dis-)Statisfaction: A majority -- 54% -- were not satisfied, with a substantial plurality -- 40% not at all satisfied. A quarter (25%) were somewhat satisfied, while 16% were very satisfied. Majorities of New Yorkers across demographic, socio-economic, geographic and partisan lines are dissatisfied with the city's response, whites (50% approve/47% disapprove) and those 65+ (46% approve and 46% disapprove) as partial exceptions.


New Yorkers overwhelmingly support:

  • Requiring employers to give all workers at least 5 sick days per year: 89% vs 8% opposed. That's 10 to 1.
  • raising the state minimum wage from the current $7.15 an hour to $10 by 2012: 88% vs 9%. Again, 10 to 1.
  • requiring employers that receive taxpayer-funded city subsidies to pay $10 an hour plus health benefits: 78% vs. 15%. 5 to 1.

Support for these three proposals is widespread, cutting across all demographic, socio-economic, geographic, even party affiliation -- though Republicans are somewhat less enthusiastic. Three quarters of GOP registered voters support paid sick days and boosting the state's minimum wage, while more than half favor a "living wage." For more information, click here.


Job & the economy come first, with education a distant second. Almost half the of adult New York City residents (43%) say that jobs and the economy should be the city's number one priority, while a quarter (26%) see education as most important. All groups want jobs to be the city's primary focus. The young and those with a post graduate education are the most likely to choose education (both at 32%), while seniors are the least likely to pick education (16%) and the most likely to pick safety and security (13%)


To deal with the budget deficit, New Yorkers would rather see taxes go up than see services cut 46% to 32%, while 9% volunteered that the city should do a little of each. Only Republicans prefer cuts, (57% cut, 20% tax, 9% both), while those with incomes over $100,000 are divided (42% cut, 39% tax, 9% both).


Collective bargaining: Nearly two-thirds of adult New Yorkers surveyed by Baruch College Survey Research oppose curbing the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions -- 63%, with 40% strongly opposing limits on union negotiations over conditions of employment. About a quarter of New Yorkers (26%) favor taking away some public employee collective bargaining rights.

Too much influence?: New Yorkers are split over the question of the extent of the influence that labor unions have on American life and politics today, with 30% saying that unions have too much influence, 27% say too little, and 30% about the right amount of influence. About one in 10 (12%) are not sure about the extent of labor union influence.

It's six-tenths of one vs. six-tenths of another. In one view, 6 in 10 New Yorkers support continued, indeed enhanced, union influence over American life and politics (57%); in another, 6 in 10 New Yorkers (60%) want to hold the line on, or indeed, reduce labor union influence

Too much compensation?: New Yorkers also divide over whether the salaries and benefits of most public employees are too high, too low, or about right for the work they do: 34% say that public employee compensation packages are generally appropriate for the work they perform, while those who see public employees as under-compensated outnumber who say the opposite -- 28% vs. 20%. About one in 10 of (9%) those surveyed volunteered that "it depends" and another one in 10 (8%) weren't sure.


This telephone poll of a random sample of 1207 adults in New York City was conducted by Baruch College Survey Research, School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York from April 26-May 9, 2011. 1001 landline telephone interviews were conducted of New York City residents who have landline phones, and 206 cell phone interviews were conducted among a separate cell-phone only sample. The questions about the Bin Laden death and the funding of the NYPD were conducted of 722 NYC adults May 2-May 9, 2011.

The landline sample was based on a random digit dial (RDD) design which draws numbers from all existing landline telephone exchanges in the five boroughs of New York City, giving all phone numbers, listed and unlisted, a proportionate chance of being included. Respondents in the landline sample were selected randomly within the household. This sample was supplemented by a randomly selected cell phone sample, based on numbers identified as cell phones in the five boroughs of New York City. Respondents were screened for residence in New York City and were offered the option of being interviewed in Spanish. The SAT score is based on an average of the positive responses to three questions in the poll.

The estimated average sample tolerance for data from the poll is +2.8% for the full sample of 1207 and + 3.7% for the sample of 722 (Questions 28 and 29) at the 95% confidence level. That is, the chances are about 19 out of 20 that if all households with telephones were surveyed with the same questionnaire, the results of the complete census would not be found to deviate from the poll findings by more than 2.8 percentage points (3.7 percentage points for the questions asked of 722 adults). Error for subgroups is higher. Sampling is only one source of error. Other sources of error may include question wording, question order and interviewer effects.




Contact: Ed Pachetti

Baruch College

(646) 660-6135

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