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New Yorkers Pessimistic About City’s Future, Majority Believe Leadership Needs to Do Better, New Poll

Published: June 8, 2022
New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams holds hands with New York Governor Kathy Hochul as he speaks to supporters during his 2021 election victory night party at the Brooklyn Marriott on Nov. 2, 2021 in New York City. (Image: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a new Siena College poll of New York City residents, conducted exclusively for Spectrum News NY1, a majority of New Yorkers are pessimistic about the direction the city is taking and believe that state and city leaders need to do a better job. 

The poll was conducted between May 22 and June 1 and polled one thousand New Yorkers via landline and cell phone with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

Fifty-six percent of respondents believe the city is headed in the wrong direction, compared to just 32 percent who said “it’s on the right track.”

In the shadow of violence that has plagued the city’s mass transit system, an overwhelming 70 percent of respondents feel less safe than before the pandemic began. 

A full 76 percent are either somewhat or very concerned that they’ll be a victim of violent crime with only 24 percent indicating that they were not concerned.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams noted earlier this week that violent gun crime is trending downward however overall crime continues to trend upwards. 

“This is not a large number of people” he said, indicating that a targeted approach could tackle the bulk of the problem. “It’s a small number of people who are consistently inflicting violence,” he added. 

Adam’s approval rating however is not reflective of the initial support he received after being elected to the mayor position earlier this year. It appears his honeymoon period is over and New Yorkers want to see results.

Just 29 percent of respondents ranked his performance as good or excellent with 64 percent saying he is performing fairly good or poorly.

Siena College Research Institute Director, Don Levy said, “You would normally say that a newly elected chief executive has a honeymoon period. Well, if he had it, it certainly seems to be over.” 

Homelessness a priority concern

While the average New Yorker may not see improvements, Adams believes he is tackling the problems most important to citizens; however, his efforts have not convinced a majority of New Yorkers, as of yet. 

Almost half of respondents, 49 percent, say Adams is doing a poor job of managing the homelessness problem in the city despite numerous initiatives launched by his administration to tackle the problem.

“We cannot tolerate these makeshift, unsafe houses on the side of highways, in trees, in front of schools, in parks, This is just not acceptable, and it’s something I’m just not going to allow to happen,” Adams said in March before implementing a strategy to clear homeless encampments and house people experiencing homelessness. 

Adams is addressing what he calls a “dysfunctional” city social welfare agency that, prior to him being elected, left some 2,500 city-funded apartments for the homeless sitting empty. 

Addressing the problem, Adams said in March, “When this is placed in my radar, I immediately kicked into action, and we’re going to roll out a formal plan of filling those beds.”

Adams does not appear to be concerned by low polling numbers, saying at a news briefing on Tuesday that he believes New Yorkers are “going to give Eric a shot.”

“I think that, you know, listen, a C is not an A. But, a C is not an F. New Yorkers are hard judges and graders, we all know that. And so for a New Yorker to give you a ‘fair,’ they’re saying, ‘We’re going to watch what you’re doing.’”

Gov. Kathy Hochul polling slightly better

According to the poll, Gov. Kathy Hochul is enjoying slightly better polling numbers than Adams.

Thirty-eight percent of New York city residents said she was on the right track, while 46 percent say that the state is headed in the wrong direction. Thirty-five percent said she is doing a good or excellent job while 54 percent rated her performance as either fair or poor. 

At a press conference on June 8, when asked about New Yorkers’ concerns about violence in the state, Hochul pointed to a series of gun reform measures her administration signed into law on Monday.

“Yesterday, we signed a nation-leading, historic violence prevention package that New Yorkers are just learning about,” she said. “No governor has done as much as we have in as fast a time to address the specter of crime and gun violence in our streets,” she added. 

“And we’re not just talking about the mass shootings that occur in places like Buffalo. We’re talking about everyday street crime,” she said.