Even with grumbles about an overzealous response to Hurricane Irene—and some disappointment that it was not a more serious storm to justify said response—the new Quinnipiac poll out this morning finds that 54 percent of New Yorkers approve of the job Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing. That is the highest percentage since the botched response to the blizzard in December, and it is thanks in part to another storm, Hurricane Irene.
The poll found widespread approval for the response, with 86 percent of pollees in favor and 10 percent against. As for the evacuations, 90 percent thought it appropriate, including 84 percent of residents in the low-lying areas that were affected. Thirty-one percent of New Yorkers still disapprove of the mayor, but that is better than the most recent poll, in July 27, when the city was nearly split, with 45 percent for the mayor and 43 percent against.
Quinnipiac’s poll director Maurice Carroll noted that one thing did not seem to impact his approval. “This survey was conducted after Hurricane Irene and during the storm about Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s arrest—but maybe that second storm is a tempest in a teapot,” he said. “The critics cried ‘overkill!’ But most people agreed with the mayor, ‘better safe than sorry.’ Overwhelmingly, Bloomberg’s handling of Irene gets high marks.”
Another thing perhaps helping the mayor? The 9/11 anniversary. According to the poll, 61 percent of New Yorker said the mayor played a positive role in the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, which was the other focus of this week’s poll.
Support for redevelopment efforts has come around, with 60 percent of New Yorkers who believe construction is going well. That is compared to 40 percent of respondents in August 2009. How much construction has actually improved since then—the rebuilding pact was struck a year earlier—and how much has to do with the fact that that construction is now a major part of the skyline is unclear from the polling.
People are more positive about the opening of many pieces of the World Trade Center project, but skeptics remain in the majority: 42 percent believe 1 World Trade Center will open as promised in December 2013, up from 25 percent two years ago and 46 percent see the transit hub opening the following June, compared to 41 percent.
New Yorkers are eager to see the memorial and museum, with 70 percent saying they will visit the former, which opens today, and 75 percent the latter, which is set to open on the anniversary next year. Yet only 71 percent believe the museum should charge admission, which could cost $25, as much as MoMA. Senators Schumer and Gillibrand just announced efforts to win federal subsidies to defray such costs.
The World Trade Center site is still a bit of a disappointment—a complaint The Observer heard at yesterday’s anniversary ceremony. Only 36 percent of New Yorkers said the redevelopment makes them “feel proud to be a New Yorker,” though that is a two-fold improvement over August 2009, when only 18 percent of city residents approved.