March 7, 2014
3/7: New Mayor, but City Still Divides
Two months after taking office, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is well-liked among registered voters. Many think de Blasio cares about the average person, is fulfilling campaign promises, can unify the city, and is a good leader. However, there is a significant racial divide, and fewer than four in ten registered voters in the city approve of de Blasio’s overall job performance as mayor. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s job approval rating at this time in his first term was 50%.
POLL MUST BE SOURCED: The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll
“Many voters like the qualities that de Blasio has as mayor, and they are comfortable with him,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “But, race matters, and he still has some convincing to do when it comes to carrying out his responsibilities at City Hall.”
39% of registered voters in New York City approve of the job Mayor de Blasio is doing in office. This includes 10% who think he is doing an excellent job and 29% who say he is doing a good one. 37% rate de Blasio’s performance as fair while one in five voters — 20% — thinks he is performing poorly. Five percent have either never heard of de Blasio or are unsure how to rate him.
- Among African American voters, 50% approve of the job de Blasio is doing. 40% give him fair marks, and 7% rate his performance as poor.
- 45% of Latino voters give de Blasio high marks. This compares with 32% who think he is doing an average job, and 19% who call his job performance poor.
- 30% of white voters think well of how Mayor de Blasio is doing his job. 34% rate his performance as fair, and 30% say he is doing poorly.
- 44% of Bronx voters approve of how de Blasio is doing in office. About one-third — 33% — rate his performance as fair, and 19% say he is doing a poor job.
- In Brooklyn, 43% give de Blasio a thumbs-up. 37% believe he is doing a fair job, and 14% think he is performing poorly.
- 36% of voters in Queens and Staten Island think de Blasio is doing either an excellent or good job as mayor. 40% describe his performance as fair, and 22% say it is poor.
- Three in ten Manhattan voters — 30% — approve of how de Blasio is doing in office. 36% say he is doing a fair job, and 26% think his performance falls short.
Despite de Blasio’s approval rating, nearly six in ten voters — 59% — have a favorable opinion of him. About one in three — 33% — has an unfavorable one, and 8% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.
In The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll reported in December before de Blasio took office, 56% said they liked de Blasio, 20% had a lesser opinion of him, and 23% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him. Just before Election Day, 64% thought well of de Blasio. 26% had a negative impression of him, and 10% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.
There is a racial divide. While 78% of African American voters say they like de Blasio, 55% of Latino voters and 49% of white voters say the same.
The Nitty-Gritty of de Blasio’s Image
Close to two-thirds of voters think de Blasio cares about people like them, and more than six in ten say he is fulfilling his campaign promises. Majorities of voters also say he can unify the city and is a good leader for the Big Apple. When it comes to whether de Blasio is changing New York City for the better, a plurality of voters think he is, and nearly half think he is meeting their expectations.
- 65% of voters citywide say de Blasio cares about people like them. 31% disagree, and 4% are unsure. Race matters on this question. While 86% of African American voters think de Blasio is concerned about them, 66% of Latinos and 51% of white voters say the same.
- More than six in ten New York City voters — 63% — think de Blasio is fulfilling campaign promises. One in four — 25% — does not think he is, and 11% are unsure. By race, more than seven in ten African American voters — 72% — believe de Blasio is keeping his word. This compares with 61% of Latino voters and 57% of whites.
- 59% of registered voters think de Blasio can unify the city. 34% do not have confidence in him to do so, and 7% are unsure. There are racial differences. 79% of African American voters and 64% of Latinos think de Blasio is a unifying force. This compares with only 42% of white voters who share this opinion.
- When it comes to de Blasio’s leadership, 58% believe he is a good leader for the city. About one in three — 33% — says he is not, and 9% are unsure. Again, race comes into play. Nearly eight in ten African American voters — 79% — have confidence in de Blasio’s leadership ability while 57% of Latinos and 46% of whites agree.
- Nearly half of registered voters — 48% — think de Blasio is meeting their expectations as New York City mayor. Six percent say he is exceeding them while 35% believe he is falling below what they had anticipated. 11% are unsure. By race, more than six in ten African American voters — 63% — say he is meeting their expectations. This compares with 48% of Latino voters and 39% of white voters who have this opinion.
- 43% of voters say de Blasio is changing New York City for the better. 20% think he is having a negative impact, and 25% believe he is having no effect at all. 12% are unsure. While about two-thirds of African American voters — 66% — think de Blasio is having a positive impact on the city, 44% of Latino voters and 30% of white voters say the same.
- 59% of voters say de Blasio’s political ideology is about right. 28% think he is too liberal, and 7% say he is too conservative. Six percent are unsure. In December’s survey, 61% said his ideology was about right, 21% reported he was too liberal, and 4% thought he was too conservative. 14%, then, were unsure.
Majority of Adults Approves of de Blasio’s Handling of Winter Storms… Schools Tell a Different Tale
56% of New York City residents are satisfied with how de Blasio and his administration managed this winter’s snowstorms. 41% disapprove, and 3% are unsure. Racial differences exist. More than seven in ten African Americans — 72% — think well of how de Blasio handled the snowfalls. This compares with 50% of Latinos and 49% of whites.
But, do adults citywide agree with how de Blasio handled school closings during those storms? 50% do not think he dealt with the situation correctly. 46% believe he did, and 4% are unsure. While majorities of African Americans — 55% — and Latinos — 53% — say de Blasio’s assessment was spot on, just 40% of whites agree. Parents of public school children divide. 50% think de Blasio correctly addressed the situation while 50% think he fumbled it.
Six in Ten Agree with de Blasio’s Focus on Public Schools
In contrast with former Mayor Bloomberg’s strong support for charter schools, Mayor de Blasio wants a better balance with public schools. And, six in ten residents in the city — 60% — approve of that emphasis. 34% disapprove, and 6% are unsure.
Among parents with school children in the city’s public school system, 65% think de Blasio has the correct stance on charter schools. 31% disagree, and 4% are unsure.
Race is a factor. 67% of Latinos and 64% of African Americans agree that de Blasio should emphasize public schools over charter schools. This compares with 49% of whites in the city who say the same. By borough, 64% in Queens and Staten Island, 61% of those in Brooklyn, and 60% of residents in the Bronx agree with de Blasio’s focus on public schools. 51% of Manhattan adults share this opinion.
52% Have Positive View of Chirlane McCray
A majority of registered voters — 52% — like Mayor de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray. 19% have an unfavorable impression of her, and 29% have either never heard of her or are unsure how to rate her. When The Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist last reported this question in December, 46% thought well of McCray, 8% had a lesser view of her, and 45% had either never heard of her or were unsure how to rate her.
City’s Compass Pointing in the Right Direction, Says Majority
53% of voters think New York City is moving in the right direction. 42% think it is moving in the wrong one, and 5% are unsure. In December, 51% thought the city was on course. 36% believed it was off track, and 13% were unsure.
However, there has been a shift in the specific groups who think the city is on the right path. There has been an increase in the proportion of African American voters who say the city is on course. 60% have this view now compared with 49% in December. There has been a slight decline among white voters. 45% say the Big Apple is on track while a slim majority — 52% — did so in that previous survey. Among Latinos, there is little change. Half — 50% — currently say New York City is on track while 47% had this opinion three months ago.