The NY1-Marist Poll
on New York City Politics:
Erasing the Racial-Ethnic Dimension
By Angelo Falcón (April 6, 2011)
To view complete poll results, click here
Despite all of the news in the last few weeks on New York City's changing demographics with Asians, Blacks and Latinos now making up about two-thirds of the city's population, this racial-ethnic dimension of New York's politics were totally ignored in the reporting on the latest NY1-Marist Poll (the poll didn't have enough Asians in its sample to include them in the results). Important questions like Mayor Bloomberg's poor approval rating and that of his NYS School Chancellor appointee, Cathie Black, were lead stories presenting the findings as reflecting the views of all New Yorkers. However, a review of the NY1-Marist Poll findings reveals significant differences among Blacks, Latinos and Whites that should have been addressed by the news media and the Marist Poll, who had these racial-ethnic breakdowns but chose not to address them in their own analysis.
The Mayor's Ratings
There was much discussion of the very low 40 percent approval rate that Mayor Bloomberg received among registered voters in this recent poll. However, as significant as was that his approval rating wasthe even lower ratings among Blacks and Latinos. Only 27 percent of Blacks and 36 percent of Latinos rated Mayor Bloomberg's performance as from "Good" to "Excellent," compared to 46 percent of Whites.
It was also reported that only 27 percent approved of the Mayor's handling of the public schools. However, compared to 36 percent of Whites who thought so, only 16 percent of Blacks and 19 percent of Latinos did.
A higher percent (38 percent) of the city's registered voters approved of the Mayor's handling of the city's budget. However, only 29 percent of Blacks and 25 percent of Latinos approved, compared to 50 percent of Whites.
The Chancellor and the Public Schools
Related to this, the NYC Schools Chancellor also received much coverage for her dismal 17 percent approval rating among the city's adults. However, in a slight reversal of the above pattern, she received more favorable ratings from Blacks and Latinos than among Whites. Her approval rating among Blacks was 19 percent and among Latinos 16 percent, compared to 15 percent among Whites.
The public schools themselves received better approval ratings than its Chancellor, although still very low. Among adults, 38 percent approved of the performance of the public schools. However, while 45 percent of Whites did, only 25 percent of Blacks and 36 percent of Latinos approved of the schools' performance.
The Bloomberg Legacy and the 2013 Mayoral Primary
On Mayor Bloomberg's legacy, 39 percent of registered voter felt he would be remembered as "Above Average" or "One of the Best Mayors." However, while 47 percentffo Whites felt this way, only 31 percent of Blacks and 33 percent of Latinos did.
Looking to the future, the poll asked about whether the city was moving in the right direction or not. Of total registered voters, 42 percent felt the city was moving in the right direction. However, while 46 percent of Whites thought so, only 33 percent of Blacks and 29 percent of Latinos did.
Finally, asked who they would support for NYC Mayor in the 2013 Democratic Primary, Anthony Weiner was the frontrunner with only 18 percent for the total and among 29 percent of Whites. However, among Blacks and Latinos, the frontrunner was Bill Thompson (23 percent of Blacks and 18 percent of Latinos). In a separate question, the poll asked whether or not they wanted former Governor Eliot Spizer to run: he received greater support to run from Blacks (35 percent) and Latinos (32 percent) than among Whites (21 percent).
It was also interesting that among the hypothetical Democratic Mayoral candidates, no Latino was presented by the poll. In 2005, then Bronx Borough President won the Democratic Primary for Mayor against Bloomberg, to whom he lost in the general. Why he was not listed in the poll is not clear.
Distorted Public Opinion?
As New York City's demographics continue to change, the views of Blacks, Latinos and Asians are becoming increasingly important as they could impact on the city's politics and policy priorities. However, by ignoring this racial-ethnic dimension of public opinion as it did with this poll, the mainstream media is suppressing these voices in ways that distort it.