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NY'ers support Occupy movement, right to protest and the millionaires tax

An Occupy Albany protester, just through the metal detectors at the entrance to the Capitol building, holds a sign spelling out one of the protestors’ oft-used chants. Photo by Jordan Lipschik.
October 31, 2011
Fifty-eight percent of New York state voters agree with the views of the Occupy Wall Street protestors, a Quinnipiac University Poll released last Thursday morning found. Twenty-eight percent of voters, meanwhile, disagree with the protestor's views. The majority of voters, 60 percent, said they understand the protestors' views "fairly well" or "very well."

The overwhelming majority of voters — 82 percent to 13 percent — say it's "OK that they are protesting." Republicans support the right to protest 71 percent to 22 percent, with strong agreement among all groups in all regions of the state.

Voters continue to support the millionaires tax in general by a 2 to 1 margin. Republicans support the extension of the millionaires tax by 57 percent. Thirty-four percent of Republicans do not support the tax's extension. Voters making more than $100,000 per year back the tax 66 to 28 percent.

"Most New Yorkers, even upstaters and suburban voters, say they get the Wall Street protestors' message," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "And by 2-1, voters agree with the complaints about bankers and Wall Streets.

"Agree or not, four out of five voters endorse the protestors' right to protest."

Forty-four percent of voters support drilling in the Marcellus Shale because of economic benefits and 43 percent oppose hydraulic fracturing in New York because of environmental concerns. Republicans support drilling 66 percent to 23 percent and Democrats oppose it 55 percent to 33 percent. Independent voters are split on the issue 44 percent to 44 percent.

Most voters agree 73 to 19 percent that drilling will create jobs and 55 percent support a new tax on natural gas drilling companies. Republicans are split with 45 percent supporting a tax and 45 percent opposing it. Fifty percent of state voters agree hydrofracking will damage the environment, with 14 percent disagreeing and 35 percent undecided on the issue.

"When it comes to natural gas drilling, some New Yorkers have been thinking green as in trees and some think green as in dollar bills," Carroll said. "Modest support for drilling in our first poll in August has given way to an evenly divided public opinion on what promises to be a hotly-debated issue. There is agreement on the arguments from both sides: Will it help the economy? Yes. Will it endanger the environment? Yes."

The poll was conducted from Oct. 18 to 24 with 1,540 registered voters being surveyed via telephone. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points.

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