Poll: NYC residents say public corruption is big problem

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An overwhelming majority of New York City residents -- 82 percent -- believe public corruption is a serious problem, a new poll said Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac poll was issued just one week after the U.S. attorney based in Manhattan charged a handful of state, city and suburban elected officials with offenses including bribery and plotting to buy the Republican line in New York City's mayoral race.

"Those news pictures of politicians in handcuffs clearly struck a nerve," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"Nor did it fail to impress New Yorkers that, although some of the bad stuff occurred in Albany, it was city people who were accused," he added.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has charged Democrats and Republican state and city lawmakers, as well as two GOP officials from the Bronx and Queens parties.

But while Democrats dominate in New York City, the poll found that more voters identified the Republican Party with corruption than Democrats. The split was 38 percent to 26 percent, with 36 percent undecided.

About 56 percent of the 1,417 voters surveyed said New York City has about the same amount of corruption as other big cities.

The telephone poll was conducted from April 3 to 8. The margin of error is 2.6 percentage points.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who used the public outrage over the Newtown, Conn., fatal school shootings to enact a gun control law, now is proposing tougher anti-corruption laws.

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"It's a law that should change the culture," Cuomo, a Democrat and former state attorney general, said on an Albany radio show Wednesday.

Cuomo emphasized that his anti-graft measures, which aim to empower district attorneys to pursue more corruption cases by lowering the burden of proof, will be followed by additional reforms.

"I am not a big piecemeal reformer; I believe we have a fundamentally dysfunctional system and you have to fix the whole system," he said.

Next up will be proposals covering cross-party endorsements and private and public campaign financing, he said.

Democratic Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman also may be granted wider authority to investigate the Board of Elections, charities and campaign finance.

"The Board of Elections has really poor enforcement in my opinion, and it has for a long time," Cuomo said. "That has to be improved."

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