The honeymoon is over for New York City's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, with a poll showing that the liberal Democrat's approval ratings tumbled dramatically as he entered his third month in office.
Just 45 percent of voters approve of the job he is doing, while 34 percent do not, says the survey released Tuesday by the independent Quinnipiac University Polling Institute
The findings are a major setback for de Blasio, who became the city's 109th mayor on Jan. 1 after a campaign that portrayed him as the progressive alternative to his predecessor, billionaire media tycoon Michael Bloomberg.
A Jan. 16 Quinnipiac poll found that 53 percent of voters thought he was doing a good job, with only 13 percent disapproving.
The pollsters point out, moreover, that when they undertook a similar survey of Bloomberg's performance in March 2002 — his first term in office — 62 percent of New Yorkers gave him the thumbs-up while a mere 16 percent were disillusioned.
"After an uneven first couple of months in office, only so-so numbers for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio," said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll.
In an additional embarrassment, the new figures reveal that de Blasio's Police Commissioner William Bratton is running way ahead of him in popularity, with a 57 percent approval rating. City Comptroller Scott Stringer also outstripped him, with a 53 percent approval score.
"His hand-picked police commissioner, William Bratton, and his fellow citywide elected official, Comptroller Scott Stringer, both outscore him," Carroll said.
"Voters think his young administration is handling crime and taxes right, and they say 60 - 27 percent that the media is being fair to the new mayor," Carroll said.
Many de Blasio supporters have expressed disillusionment after a series of controversies during his first weeks in power.
He campaigned on a promise of fairness and evenhandedness. But he made a late-night call to police
after a pastor who was one of his supporters was picked up on outstanding warrants. Though de Blasio said he didn't demand any favors, Bishop Orlando Findlayter quickly was freed.
Subsequently, a televised video showed de Blasio's police-driven SUV speeding
and running two stop signs while he sat in the front seat. This was just two days after he released a plan for cutting traffic deaths, saying, "It’s about each of us taking greater responsibility every time we get behind the wheel or step out on the street."
Moreover, a photo
in The New York Post caught him jaywalking.
The poll says there is one ray of light for him: by a margin of 65 percent to 29 percent, voters think he will make life better for them and their families over the next four years.
"And he gets solid marks on the standard pollster traits: leadership, honesty and understands people's problems,' said Carroll.
The poll reveals, however, that there is a considerable divide between races on how he is viewed.
Black voters are optimistic by 81 percent to 13 percent, and Hispanic voters by 69 percent to 21 percent, but white voter optimism is only at 51 percent, compared with 45 percent who are not optimistic.
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