Quinnipiac Poll Shows Growing Racial Divide in de Blasio’s Approval Numbers

In the first measure of Mayor Bill de Blasio's approval rating since late August, his popularity is holding steady citywide -- but white voters increasingly disapprove of the mayor in a growing racial divide.

 (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In the first measure of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s approval rating since late August, his popularity is holding steady citywide — but white voters increasingly disapprove of the mayor in a growing racial divide.

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“His job approval rating two months in is positive and pretty good, but disturbingly ethnically divided,” Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll said this afternoon.

Voters overall citywide approve of Mr. de Blasio 49 percent, with 36 percent disapproving — moving little since the last poll in late August showed the mayor with a 50 percent approval rating.

A full 50 percent of white voters now disapprove of the mayor’s performance, up from 45 percent in August — with just 34 percent of whites approving of the job he’s doing. That’s in sharp contrast to the mayor’s favor with black voters: 71 percent of black voters support the job he’s doing, with only 14 percent disapproving. Among Hispanic voters, 56 percent approve and 27 percent disapprove.

It’s the first poll taken since it was revealed that Rachel Noerdlinger, the mayor’s wife’s chief of staff, was dating an ex-con — setting off a series of negative stories about the top staffer until she stepped down yesterday. Quinnipiac is set to release further polling data about Ms. Noerdlinger tomorrow.

The popularity of Mr. de Blasio, whose wife is black, with black voters was easy to explain, Mr. Carroll said: they like both his policies and his family. His growing unpopularity with white voters was perhaps more complicated, although Mr. Carroll said he believed the stories about Ms. Noerdlinger may have played a role, if only for her connection to her former boss, Rev. Al Sharpton.

“I think it’s Sharpton. Sharpton is a polarizing figure. Sharpton is close to de Blasio, I think people felt that she was like Sharpton’s emissary, call it what you will,” Mr. Carroll said.

Voters polled ranked Mr. Sharpton as the most powerful black figure in the city — but he earned a negative favorability rating, with just 40 percent approving of him and 45 percent disapproving.

(Mr. Sharpton’s group, the National Action Network, crowed about the poll — pointing out that he is viewed favorably by the overwhelming majority of black voters.)

Mr. de Blasio’s policies, meanwhile, are more popular than the mayor is.

Voters overwhelmingly approve of his plan to end arrests for possessing small amounts of pot — 71 percent to 26 percent. The marijuana policy shift was popular with every group of voters polled: Republicans favor it 51 percent to 45 percent, and every other group polled — race, gender, age, geographic location — supported the measure by at least 66 percent.

“It’s one of the few things I’ve ever seen where a mayor has said something and everyone said, ‘Wow,'” Mr. Carroll said.

The mayor is not the most popular citywide elected official — that’s Comptroller Scott Stringer, who has often been a critic of the mayor. Voters approve of Mr. Stringer 52 percent to 18 percent.

“If I were de Blasio I’d be looking at those numbers and saying, ‘Well, here’s the guy who’s going to be running against me next time around,'” Mr. Carroll said.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 12 to Nov. 17, and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Quinnipiac Poll Shows Growing Racial Divide in de Blasio’s Approval Numbers