Mayor Minor?

Issue

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll says Bill de Blasio’s approval rating continues to erode.

Two years until New York City’s next mayoralty election, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s job approval rating has declined. To compound problems for de Blasio, support among his base has dropped, 9 points among African American voters and 12 points among Latino voters. Of note, the racial divide which has underscored views about, both,

Mayor de Blasio and the city still exists, but that gap is less pronounced than in the past. Mayor de Blasio’s approval rating among registered voters citywide stands at 38%, down from 44% in May. With the exception of Queens and Staten Island where de Blasio’s approval rating has inched up slightly, 33% to 37%, the mayor’s approval rating has fallen citywide. The most dramatic decline has occurred in Manhattan where 32% now rate de Blasio highly compared with 53% in the spring.

While de Blasio still scores higher among African American, 50%, and Latino voters, 37%, than white voters, 32%, Mayor de Blasio’s approval rating has fallen among both groups. Previously, the mayor received a 59% approval rating among African Americans and 49% among Latinos.

On the specifics of de Blasio’s job performance, the mayor has lost points on his handling of crime. Fewer than four in ten adults in the city, 39%, say they approve of his approach, and a majority, 51%, disapproves. In the previous Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist Poll, residents divided, 47% to 46%. On the issue of police and community relations, the mayor also receives low marks with 37% saying they approve of how he is handling the issue and 53% reporting they do not. Mayor de Blasio fares better on the issue of race relations where 48% of residents approve of the mayor’s approach. On education, residents divide with 42% reporting they approve of his handling and 45% saying they disapprove. New York City public school parents, 49%, are more likely to give Mayor de Blasio higher marks than residents, overall, on his handling of the schools.

Although his favorable score among registered voters has dipped from 59% to 52%, Mayor de Blasio remains well-liked. Of note, de Blasio’s positive score has declined 13 points among Latinos and 16 points among voters in Manhattan. On the bright side for de Blasio, voters citywide think he is working hard as mayor, 60%, and believe he understands the problems facing the city, 56%. Despite a decline from 59% earlier this year, a majority of voters, 53%, still maintains the mayor cares about the average person, and a plurality, 47%, disagree that de Blasio cares more about keeping low-level offenders out of jail than protecting the public from crime. However, the electorate divides, 46% agree to 48% who disagree, about whether or not de Blasio is a good leader for New York City. Previously, a majority, 53%, thought de Blasio was a strong leader for the five boroughs. Voters, 54%, also report de Blasio spends too much time debating his policies on the national stage and is not focusing enough attention on New York City. In the last poll, voters divided. 44% agreed he spent too much time on the national stage, and 46% disagreed. Overall, 37% of registered voters now think de Blasio is changing the city for the better, and 28%, up from 20%, believe he is changing it for the worse. Fewer than four in ten voters, citywide, 38%, think the Big Apple is moving in the right direction. This is down from 45% in the spring and matches the lowest proportion of voters since January of 2011 to say New York City is on track.

In addition, more residents, when compared with May, say the overall quality of life in New York City has gotten worse, 41%, since Mayor de Blasio became mayor, up from 33%. What does this all mean for de Blasio? Nearly half of voters, 49%, say de Blasio does not deserve to be re-elected, and 42% think he does. This has flipped from the previous poll when a plurality of voters, 47%, reported the mayor deserved a second term, and 42% thought he did not. Despite waning support for de Blasio, especially among his base, potential opponents are not well-known citywide and attract little support from Democrats. When matched against possible challengers for the 2017 Democratic primary, at present, Mayor de Blasio is the odds-on favorite. Even a slim majority of Latinos, among whom de Blasio has lost the most traction, supports him.