A second term for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is in clear sight. If de Blasio were primaried by fellow New York City Democrats, he leaves his potential competition in the dust. Among New York City Democrats, 40% support de Blasio. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn tie for a distant second with 9% each. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., 8%, and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, 6%, follow. U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries receives 2%, and New York State Senator Tony Avella and former New York City Councilmember Sal Albanese receive 1% each. Less than one percent supports entrepreneur Michael Basch. A notable 23% are undecided.
When asked who Democrats’ second choice would be, Quinn tops the list with 19%. Mayor de Blasio and Stringer receive 13% each, and James garners 11% of the Democratic vote. The rest of the field has support in single digits. A notable 20% are undecided. Of note, 18% of Democrats who support de Blasio say Quinn is their second choice.
“Even in a crowded field, Mayor de Blasio would reach 40% in a Democratic primary and avoid a runoff,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “None of his potential Democratic challengers has double-digit support.”
When the Democratic field is whittled down to just three candidates — de Blasio, James, and Stringer — de Blasio’s support reaches 47%. He leads James, 17%, and Stringer, 16%, by nearly three to one in this hypothetical Democratic contest.
Mayor de Blasio also outpaces his potential Republican competition in hypothetical general election contests. When matched against businessman John Catsimatidis, registered voters citywide support de Blasio, 66%, over Catsimatidis, 20%. The mayor also leads New York City Councilmember Eric Ulrich, 65% to 18%, among the citywide electorate. Against real estate entrepreneur Paul Massey, de Blasio has 65% to 19% for Massey. The mayor has a similar lead, 64% to 19%, against Reverend Michel J. Faulkner.
Mayor de Blasio’s re-election bid is playing out amid federal and state investigations into the mayor’s administration. The federal investigation involves a non-profit organization, Campaign for One New York, which is connected to the de Blasio administration. The investigation probes whether donors with city business received an unfair advantage in their business with the city over those who donated less money or none at all. Do New Yorkers think the mayor did anything wrong? While a notable 25% of adults in the city are unsure, half, 50%, report de Blasio did something wrong. Included here are 17% who think de Blasio did something illegal and 33% who say he did something unethical but not illegal. Only 25% report Mayor de Blasio did nothing wrong. When it comes to the mayor’s aides, a majority of residents, 53%, think they either did something illegal, 23%, or something unethical but not illegal, 30%. 17% believe Mayor de Blasio’s aides did nothing wrong, and a notable 29% are unsure.
On the state level, Mayor de Blasio and his aides face accusations which allege they violated campaign finance laws in an attempt to help Democrats get elected to the New York State Senate. Here, a plurality of residents, 46%, think de Blasio either did something illegal, 17%, or something unethical but not illegal, 29%. 32% say the mayor did nothing wrong, and a notable 22% are unsure. When it comes to the culpability of his aides, a majority, 52%, think de Blasio’s staff either did something illegal, 22%, or something unethical but not illegal, 30%. 22% believe they did nothing wrong, and more than one in four, 26%, are unsure.
Do these allegations hurt the mayor’s chances for re-election? If there is an indictment of one or more of the mayor’s aides, 51% of voters either say it would not matter very much, 24%, or would not matter at all, 27%, in their vote. 44% report it would impact their vote either a great deal, 27%, or a good amount, 17%. Five percent are unsure.
“There is concern about the state and federal investigations and what they might reveal about the conduct of Mayor de Blasio and his aides,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “So far, the discussion has not spilled over to harm his re-election prospects, but the potential exists for problems down the road.”
Mayor de Blasio’s strong re-election chances are despite his underwhelming job approval rating. 39% of New York City registered voters rate de Blasio’s performance as either excellent, 10%, or good, 29%. In contrast, nearly six in ten, 58%, describe the mayor’s job performance as either fair, 36%, or poor, 22%. Four percent are unsure. Mayor de Blasio’s approval rating is little changed from the 40% score he achieved last October.
Mayor de Blasio’s approval rating is fueled, in large part, by African American voters, 52%, who think he is performing well in his post. Of note, among the 36% who rate de Blasio as doing a “fair” job, 51% view him favorably, and only 38% see him unfavorably.
Drilling down into the specifics of de Blasio’s job performance, there has been an increase in the proportions of New York City residents who approve of how he is handling a number of issues. Mayor de Blasio scores highest in the area of race relations. 61% of New York City residents, up from 48% in November 2015, approve of the mayor’s approach to this issue. Majorities also think well of how de Blasio is handling crime, 58% up from 49% last October, dealing with the public schools, 53% up from 49% previously, and handling police-community relations, 51% up from 44%. New Yorkers divide over how the mayor is addressing the issue of income inequality. 46% approve while 42% disapprove. Still, the proportion of residents who rate Mayor de Blasio highly on this issue is up from 39% last October.
A majority of registered voters, 55%, also have a favorable impression of Mayor de Blasio. 37% have an unfavorable one, and 8% are unsure. African Americans, 77%, are most likely to perceive the mayor positively. Among Latinos, 57% have a favorable impression of de Blasio. However, only 39% of whites share this opinion.
New York City voters perceive de Blasio to be a mayor who works hard, 64%, cares about the average person, 62%, and is a good leader for New York City, 58%. These proportions are little changed since they were previously reported. When it comes to the national stage, nearly six in ten voters, 57%, do not think the mayor is spending too much time speaking out against President Donald Trump at the expense of the problems facing the city. They divide about whether or not they believe Mayor de Blasio is spending too much time debating his policy positions nationally and not focusing on what he can do in New York City. 45%, down from 54%, think de Blasio is focusing too much on the national policy debate while 47% do not.
“Mayor de Blasio continues to score high on working hard, caring, and leadership,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Challenging President Trump is also a successful rallying point for the mayor.”
Looking at one of the largest issues facing the de Blasio administration, a plurality of residents, 46%, think the number of homeless people, panhandlers, or mentally ill on the city streets is about the same as it has been. 34% think it has increased, and 14% believe it has decreased. Seven percent are unsure. These proportions are little changed from the fall.
A plurality of residents, 47%, also report they think Mayor de Blasio and his administration are taking steps to clean up corruption in the city. 31%, however, say they are adding to the problem of corruption. Of note, 21% are unsure.
What do voters think is de Blasio’s overall impact on New York City? 44% think he is changing the city for the better. 21% believe he is changing it for the worse, and 30% do not think Mayor de Blasio is having any effect on New York City. Five percent are unsure. These findings are little changed from those last reported in October.
When it comes to the direction of New York City, nearly half of voters, 49%, think New York City is moving in the right direction. 43% say it is moving in the wrong direction, and 8% are unsure. The proportion of voters who think the city is on track is at its highest point since March 2014 when 53% had this view. When this question was previously reported in October 2016, 48% reported New York City was moving in the right direction. 43% said it was going in the wrong one, and 9% were unsure.