Nine months out of the 2013 election—the first without an incumbent mayor since 2001—the field of candidates for citywide office has largely taken shape, and the media and pollsters have leapt ahead to handicap the races’ outcome.
Consultants have already done their utmost to sow the narratives they hope will grow into victory in the primary and general elections, and insiders have already discarded a host of hopefuls as impossibilities, while elevating others to the status of frontrunners.
But for all of the insights bandied about endlessly in the 24-hour news cycle—the fund-raising totals, the endorsements, the numbers, the thundering roar of the horse race—what do the residents of the five boroughs actually think about the elections that will determine who governs them for the next four years?
Are the candidates who are so familiar to the chattering classes the same leaders who are being talked about in the private conversations of regular New Yorkers? Are New Yorkers even aware that a major election is coming?
In order to gain a microcosmic perspective on the actual opinions of New Yorkers about the upcoming election, City & State and City Limits, in partnership with WNET’s MetroFocus, present a new series: “The Five Borough Ballot.”
From now until November we will be following the election from the point of view of five locations: a deli in Manhattan, a NYCHA building in Brooklyn, a bar in Staten Island, a restaurant in the Bronx and a block of homes in Queens.
Each week we will revisit one of these five places to get a grounded angle on the election as it evolves and escalates toward its climax. Our goal is not to shape the opinions of our interviewees but to listen to them—to learn from them what the issues, stances and personalities are that are really resonating with the people of New York—and in so doing, gain a unique insight into the dynamics of these critical contests.
Will the judgments of the cast of characters at our five locations conform to the prevailing wisdom floated by the press? Will they stand in stark contrast to the spin and the hype? Will they prove the pollsters right?
Over the next nine months we will discover the answers to these questions. We will see the history of New York unfolding before the eyes of those whose twists and turns it will affect most deeply.
This year the people of New York will elect a new mayor, comptroller and public advocate. Four of the five borough presidents will change, as will two-thirds of the City Council. The opportunity to largely refashion the city’s government and the direction of its policies is in the hands of the voters.
What is the government that New Yorkers want to see? Over the course of “The Five Borough Ballot,” we’ll ask them.
In this first installment of the series we introduce you to the five locations we will be returning to over the course of the coming months.
Tags: 2013, Artie’s, Barack Obama, Barry Orenstein, Bayside, Bronx, brooklyn, brownsville, Camaguey, Charlie Wonsowicz, Christine Quinn, City Council, City Limits, comptroller, Dan Halloran, darlene-mealy, John Liu, John Sampson, Leo Gorynski, Manhattan, mayor, metrofocus, Michael Bloomberg, Mitt Romney, Mott Haven, New York City, NYCHA, public advocate, Queens, Staten Island, Tony Avella, Tottenville, upper west side, Van Dyke Houses, W’s Bar & Restaurant