While Eric Adams’ overall approval rating has held steady since he took office in January at about 60%, the mayor’s honeymoon period has been marred by a series of senseless killings and ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and a new survey shows his favorability among voters is suffering when compared to his predecessors.
Of 745 registered voters in New York City, 40% said Adams is doing an “excellent” or “good” job, according to a Marist College poll released Monday. The score is barely better than Bill de Blasio’s, who received 39% “excellent/good” marks in his first March, less than any mayor dating back to David Dinkins. In March 2002, 50% of Marist poll respondents said then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg was doing a good job, compared to Rudy Giuliani’s 51% in December 1994, and Dinkins’ 56% in March 1990.
When asked whether they disapprove or approve of Adams’ overall performance, 62% of registered voters said they approve, 25% disapprove and 13% are unsure, the data shows. Among Democrats, Adams has a 67% approval rating versus 55% among Republicans. The numbers are comparable with voters’ responses in January, when Adams’ favorability rating in a Siena College poll came in at 63%
Adams has faced a disturbing number of violent, high-profile crimes that have played out publicly on the streets and in the subway system during his first weeks in office, not only creating a perception of turmoil in the city but leaving less time for the public to get to know him outside of his dealings with public safety. The interviews for the most recent poll were conducted after a February when the city saw a 60% increase across all major crime categories compared to the same month the previous year. Marist interviewed 891 adults, including 745 registered voters, in New York City by phone between March 1 and 8.
The results show voters generally have faith in Eric Adams himself. Seventy-five percent of Democrats surveyed and even 67% of Republicans said they believe Adams understands the problems facing the city. More than half of both Republicans (56%) and Democrats (69%) have a favorable impression of Adams, and most voters across both parties also believe he is a good leader for New York City.
Opinions on his handling of crime and schools were split between party lines. Fifty-eight percent of Democrats approve of Adams’ centrist approach to crime, compared to 46% of Republicans. The partisan gap on schools was even wider, with 60% of Democrats approving of the job Adams is doing so far, compared to 42% of Republicans. Notably, more voters were unsure about Adams’ school policies than they were about his approach to crime.
Among the most contentious bipartisan issues facing Adams are his plans to bring back policing strategies associated with a history of racial bias and brutality, including the use of stop-and-frisk, and the return of a modified undercover unit within the New York City Police Department. Adams has promised to incorporate the lessons of the past when announcing the restoration of the controversial tactics. Despite the political backlash, the majority of voters on both ends of the political spectrum – and even more Republicans than Democrats – gave favorable marks regarding Adams’ approach to police-community relations, according to the survey.
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