Poll: Voters Disapprove of de Blasio But Like Him Better Than Potential Challengers

Mayor Bill de Blasio testifies to a House subcommittee on terrorism cuts.

Mayor Bill de Blasio testifies to a House subcommittee on terrorism cuts. (Photo: Andrew Propp for Observer)

As Mayor Bill de Blasio faces several investigations of his administration and campaigns, the latest Quinnipiac University poll finds that most city voters disapprove of his work and feel he does not deserve to be reelected—but he would still beat two possible challengers.

The survey released today found that 51 percent of voters disapprove of the job the mayor is doing, which is virtually unchanged from his 52 percent disapproval rating from earlier this year—his worst grade to date. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,310 city voters from July 21 to 28, including 845 Democrats.

Another 50 percent say feel he does not deserve reelection in 2017

“For a mayor going into an election year, this is a disturbing poll,” Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll said in a statement. “Half of New Yorkers say Mayor Bill de Blasio does not deserve reelection.”

But he still tops two possible challengers—Stringer or former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn—in the Democratic primary and general election matchups, the poll finds. Hypothetical election results show that the mayor gets 43 percent in a three-way primary, with 19 percent for Quinn and 16 percent for Stringer.

He beats Stringer 45 percent to 32 percent in a head-to-head general election matchup and Quinn 43 percent to 33 percent in a two-way general election matchup, with both running as independents (an unlikely proposition).

“The plus for Mayor de Blasio is in the political truism that you can’t beat somebody with nobody,” Carroll continued. “So far neither City Comptroller Scott Stringer nor former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn shows much political strength.”

Plenty of other names have been bandied about as potential challengers for a 2017 Democratic primary, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., African-American developer Don Peebles, and Brooklyn Rep. Hakeem Jeffries. None of them were polled; nor was Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican who could take a run at de Blasio in the general election.

Most New Yorkers—52 percent to 41 percent—say the mayor does not have strong leadership qualities, but 51 percent believe that he understands their problems. And 49 percent of them say the mayor is honest and trustworthy.

Residents also feel that the ongoing feud between the mayor and Governor Andrew Cuomo is having an effect on the city, with 60 percent of voters saying the tensions between hurt the city. Still, 42 percent of voters agree more with Cuomo while 33 percent agree more with de Blasio.

(The mayor recently said that Cuomo and Senate Republicans do not support city interests while the governor’s office retorted that Cuomo has to step in when the mayor’s administration acts incompetently and politically.)

Voters are divided over the mayor’s handling of relations between blacks and whites, with 45 percent approving and 44 percent expressing disapproval. But he received low approval ratings on his handling of crime, police-community relations and the city budget—at 42 percent, 37 percent and 35 percent, respectively.

The poll also found that 40 percent of voters approve of the way Letitia James is handling her job as public advocate, while 17 percent disapprove. And Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito—who has recently come under fire on the left after she announced that a package of police reform bills known as the Right to Know Act would be handled internally by the NYPD—has a 29 percent approval rating, with many voters saying they don’t know much about her.

City Hall, for its part, is not taking the findings too seriously, arguing that the numbers are more or less unchanged from six week ago save for a 12-point Stringer drop from the last poll.

“Crime is down, our economy is strong, affordable housing is being built, and more children are attending pre-K and graduating from high school than ever before,” City Hall spokesman Austin Finan said in an emailed statement.

“Mayor de Blasio has routinely delivered on the goals set by his administration and remains dogged in his pursuit to make this a fairer and more affordable city for every New Yorker. That’s why he’s the clear choice of Democratic voters and that’s why he’ll be reelected next year,” Finan continued.

Poll: Voters Disapprove of de Blasio But Like Him Better Than Potential Challengers