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Bloomberg Knocked for Protest Raid
The Wall Street Journal
Michael Howard Saul

December 15, 2011
View the Original Article

New York City voters disapprove of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's handling of the Occupy Wall Street protest by a margin of 51% to 42%, a poll released Wednesday showed.

Mr. Bloomberg's overall job rating—49% approving and 42% disapproving—remained virtually unchanged since earlier this fall, but it is far below the 70%-range approval rating he enjoyed at the end of his second term, according to the survey from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The poll found half of city voters believe the mayor has lost focus in his third term. [NYPOLL]

The poll also showed widespread support for so-called "living wage" legislation in the City Council that would require wages of at least $10 per hour on projects that receive significant public subsidies. Mr. Bloomberg opposes the legislation, and Council Speaker Christine Quinn has yet to take a position.

Last month, Mr. Bloomberg authorized the Police Department to raid Zuccotti Park, clearing out a nearly two-month-old encampment and arresting hundreds of protesters.

Democrats disapproved of the mayor's handling of the protest by a margin of 53% to 40%, while Republicans appeared more divided, with 50% approving of the mayor's performance and 48% disapproving. Among racial groups, disapproval was highest among Hispanics, with 55% knocking the mayor.

Voters gave the Police Department slightly higher marks than the mayor. They approved of the NYPD's handling of the protest, 50% to 46%. But the poll showed a wide racial gap, with white voters approving of the NYPD's performance by 60% and black voters disapproving by 59%. Hispanic voters were divided, with 47% approving and 50% disapproving.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly's overall job approval rating remains high at 66%, while the department received an overall approval rating of 62%.

More than two-thirds of city voters said they generally agree with the protesters' views, regardless of how they felt about the protest itself. Most people polled said they favored tougher regulations on banks and Wall Street firms.

"The Occupy Wall Street protesters out-scored Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the eyes of New York City voters: The mayor gets a slightly negative grade for the way he handled the situation while the protesters get a slightly positive grade," said Maurice Carroll, the institute's director.

On the living wage bill, 74% of city voters said they thought it was a good idea to mandate higher wages for projects that receive taxpayer subsidies. Among Republicans, support was 56%, and among Democrats it was 83%.

More than 80% of voters said they believe it is government's responsibility to ensure that workers are paid a decent wage. The fate of the bill rests in the hands of Ms. Quinn, a close ally of Mr. Bloomberg and a potential candidate for mayor in 2013.