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City Voters Approve of Mayor’s Overall Job Performance (And Support The Living Wage)
New York Times
David W. Chen

December 14, 2011
View the Original Article

Most voters in New York City disapprove of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s handling of the Occupy Wall Street protests and continue to believe that he has lost focus in his third term, according to a survey released Wednesday morning by Quinnipiac University.

The survey also found that an overwhelming number of city voters — including Republicans and people making more than $100,000 a year — support the so-called living wage bill, a proposal opposed by Mr. Bloomberg, which would raise wages for workers in city-subsidized development.

Yet at a time when many politicians nationwide have fared poorly in polls, city voters still like the overall job Mr. Bloomberg is doing.

While Mr. Bloomberg has had an uneven 2011, dragged down in polls by last winter’s blizzard and Cathleen P. Black’s brief stint as schools chancellor, he has ended the year on an upswing, with 49 percent of those polled saying that they approved of his job performance, and 42 percent saying they did not. Voters liked his policies, by a margin of 52 percent to 43 percent. And they held him in even higher regard personally; 64 percent said they liked the mayor, while 24 percent said they did not.

The poll queried 1,242 registered New York City voters between Dec. 7 and 12. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Many questions in the poll focused on the Occupy Wall Street protests. By a margin of 51 percent to 42 percent, voters disapproved of Mr. Bloomberg’s handling of the two-month-long protests, in which he authorized the police to evict protesters out of Zuccotti Park. He fared least well among black and Hispanic voters.

Most voters said they generally agreed with the protesters’ views, and, by a smaller margin, said they approved of the way the protests had been conducted. But they also approved, by a slim margin, of the Police Department’s handling of the protests, suggesting that the city had found some balance in deciding to clear out the park.

The survey also asked voters about their views on two high-profile administration officials: Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner, and Dennis M. Walcott, the schools chancellor.

Despite a spate of media attention over a ticket-fixing scandal and an illegal gun-smuggling scheme allegedly involving police officers, among other blemishes, 66 percent of voters approved of Mr. Kelly’s performance, while only 24 percent disapproved — marks which have been relatively unchanged all year.

Mr. Walcott, however, slipped a bit. Thirty-four percent of those polled disapproved of his performance — the highest during his short tenure — while 33 percent approved.