With less than six months to go in the mayoral race, a study by the Citizens Budget Commission shows New Yorkers are generally happy with their city—or at least as happy as they were in 2008.
More important, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s opponents will have a hard time running on crime issues or exploiting his vulnerability on the problem of homelessness.
Ironically, whites are the most pleased with their city, but they are the group that most dislikes the mayor.
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The CBC hired the National Research Center to duplicate a 2008 survey it conducted for the city government. Almost 10,000 city residents responded by mail, an impressive number for such a project.
A majority, 51%, viewed the city positively and 63% gave their own neighborhood a thumbs-up. (This is similar to how voters disparage Congress but give their own representative high marks.)
The key numbers involve crime, homelessness and race. On crime, 85% said they feel safe in a park or playground, 80% on the subway and 70% walking in their neighborhood at night. Good luck to challengers claiming the mayor has not kept the city safe.
Only 14% approved of the services for the homeless, a decline from 2008 and the lowest score in the survey. The question that needs to be asked is whether the Republicans vying to take on de Blasio can tap into that concern.
The mayor won in 2013 on his “tale of two cities” theme, and the CBC survey shows clearly that African-Americans and Hispanics believe they live in the wrong one. The question is the same as that on homelessness: Can Republicans take advantage?
My piece in Monday’s print edition (online Sunday) will look at the state of the mayor’s race.