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Poll: NY voters think Silver should step down

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A majority of New York voters say Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should step down from his position of power because of the way he handled a recent scandal. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 51 percent of those surveyed say Silver should step aside after he secretly settled sexual harassment allegations against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Last month, a legislative ethics commission report found that Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat, mistreated female staff members through groping and unwelcome advances. Silver crafted a confidential $103,000 settlement for two of the women. He has since called his actions "a mistake." Lopez has resigned.

Quinnipiac poll director Mickey Carroll says Silver's public image has been tarnished by the scandal.

"New York voters tell the Quinnipiac University poll 51 to 22 he ought to step aside," Carroll says. "The sex scandals are the explanation."

The opinion is consistent across party and gender lines. In a slight gender reversal, a greater percentage of men want Silver to step aside as Speaker than women.

Carroll says his pollsters asked respondents a new question in light of the scandal.

"[We asked] would you want your daughter to be an intern? And the answer is 'no.' That is not healthy, that people think that the Albany milieu is not a place where they'd want their kids to go," Carroll says.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents that the intern question said 'no.'

"People should want the government to be the kind of thing that people aspire to, that they look up to. And instead, they don't want their daughters to go to Albany. That is an unhealthy and unhappy situation."

Silver's approval rating is just 21 percent, compared to 52 percent who disapprove of the job he is doing. That is his worst approval rating ever.

Eighty-six percent of voters say corruption in New York State is a serious problem.  Sixty-seven percent say Albany government is dysfunctional and 75 percent say legislative leaders are not doing a good job at cleaning up corruption.

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