June 15th, 2021 3 Minute Read Press Release

New Poll Illuminates Policy Stances Driving NYC Voters in Mayoral Race

With violent crime on the rise, policy preferences among NYC voters appear more moderate than progressive narratives would suggest.

NEW YORK, NY — Even with Maya Wiley surging in the contest for New York City’s next mayor, findings from a new Manhattan Institute poll of registered voters suggest the city is more moderate than its progressive establishment would suggest. The poll, conducted by Echelon Insights, homes in on the policy preferences of registered voters in the city, finding that public safety and economic recovery remain top-of-mind. Improvements in jobs, housing, and education are also urgent priorities for New Yorkers, many of whom have suffered instability in these sectors in the wake of Covid-19. Major findings from the poll include:

  • Seventy-six percent of survey respondents favor recruiting more police officers with college degrees, which is the most popular proposal in the survey.
  • More than seven in ten registered voters, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, wish to empower police officers to be more responsive to quality-of-life issues.
  • Seventy-one percent of registered voters polled, including eight in ten parents, favor expanding charter and specialized public schools in the city.
  • Only 12 percent of respondents oppose cutting regulations and eliminating registration costs for small businesses.
  • Sixty-four percent of survey respondents favor allowing the construction of more apartment buildings, houses, and condos in New York City.

One of the few policy questions in the survey that received divided answers centered on defunding the New York Police Department (NYPD) and reallocating the money to social workers instead; 46 percent of respondents supported this idea and 44 percent opposed it, including 30 percent who strongly opposed. But other poll responses on similar issues seem to undercut the salience of this finding: nearly half of respondents said that they’d prefer a larger police presence in their neighborhood than what currently exists, and another 30 percent indicated they want no change. Only 15 percent of registered voters in New York City actually want fewer cops in their own neighborhood.

The poll reflects the views of 1,000 registered voters and was conducted by Echelon Insights using a mixed-mode approach, with 485 respondents completing the survey online and the remainder being interviewed over the phone. The poll, as well as original analysis from Michael Hendrix, director of state and local policy, is part of the Manhattan Institute's Mayoral Playbook, itself part of the Institute’s broader New York City: Reborn initiative. It follows on the heels of a poll the Institute released yesterday, detailing the standings of the candidates in advance of the June 22nd primary, as well as a previous poll released in May.

“As the city recovers from a devastating year of crime spikes and economic challenges, the Manhattan Institute has intentionally cultivated a keen ear to learn about and respond to specific hurdles facing New Yorkers,” Hendrix said. “We’re encouraged and humbled to see that many of the priorities identified by the city’s voters align with ideas advanced in our Mayoral Playbook, which we’ve grounded in cutting-edge scholarship. With steep recovery challenges still ahead for the city’s leadership, we can only hope that candidates will listen closely to the needs of the electorate. Voters in New York want to see their city recover as a vibrant and safe hub for a diverse array of communities. We hope to continue to serve as a resource in that crucial mission.”

Click here to view the full poll and analysis.


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