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Marist College Poll: Voters Not Thrilled With Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Start

Many Missteps Take Their Toll; Bloomberg's First Grades Much Better

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Only 39 percent of registered New York City voters believe Mayor Bill de Blasio has done a “good” or “excellent” job during his first two months in City Hall, according to a poll released Thursday.

More than half of the voters polled rated his performance “fair” or “poor,” according to a new poll conducted by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. Just 10 percent of voters gave de Blasio the highest “excellent” mark while 29 percent categorized his performance as “good.”

De Blasio, the city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, took office Jan. 1 after capturing 73 percent of the vote in a landslide victory in November.

“Honeymoons have gotten very short in politics,” poll director Lee Miringoff told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell.

The poll, which is the first of de Blasio’s mayoralty, comes in the wake of a series of missteps.

He drew criticism for calling the NYPD after the arrest of a political ally; a video showed his SUV caravan breaking several traffic laws just two days after he unveiled his traffic safety plan; his signature proposal, a tax hike on the wealthy to fund universal pre-kindergarten, appears stalled in Albany; and the outrage over the mayor’s role in a charter school debate up in Harlem.

Voters also gave him a middling grade on his handling of the harsh winter weather: 56 percent believe he has successfully handled the series of snowstorms that have blanketed the region.

Thirty-seven percent of voters rated his overall job performance as “fair,” while an additional 20 percent say he is doing poorly, according to the poll.

“Obviously New Yorkers were very much behind the fact that there was going to be significant change in the city and realistically that may be hard to do in the short term,” Miringoff said.

De Blasio himself received far higher marks than his performance.

“He’s well-liked in terms of his personal qualities, people are comfortable with him,” Miringoff said.

Fifty-nine percent have a favorable view of him while 33 percent have an unfavorable view. Moreover, 65 percent of voters believe de Blasio cares about people like them, 63 percent say he is fulfilling his campaign promises and 58 percent believe he is a good leader.

“Mayor de Blasio has focused the first 60 days of his administration on building, running and changing the direction of the government,” said spokeswoman Marti Adams, “and with a 59 percent favorability rating, the majority of New Yorkers approve of the direction he’s taking the city.”

Regardless of how well-liked he is, the mayor needs to turn things around, one political operative said.

‘The bad news here is when you start with controversy you build negatives, because controversy is what some people like and others don’t,” Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf told CBS 2′s Dick Brennan. “The good news is he has more than three years to repair the situation.”

The mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, has an outsized role in the administration and was viewed favorably by 52 percent of those surveyed in the new poll. Only 19 percent of voters have an unfavorable view of her while 29 percent did not have an opinion.

The poll surveyed 586 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

De Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, scored higher marks in the first Marist poll taken after he assumed office in January 2002. Fifty percent of voters rated his performance as “excellent” or “good” while 29 percent said it was “fair” and six percent said it was “poor.”

For that poll, 1,280 voters were surveyed. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

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