NYC Democratic voters say safety is top concern in new mayoral poll

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Likely voters in the Democratic mayoral primary say public safety is their number one concern — and a significant majority support increasing the size of the NYPD budget, according to a new poll.

“The data clearly shows that the majority of New York’s Democratic voters don’t want to defund the police and that they are especially worried about crime as we emerge from the pandemic,” said Jelanie DeShong, director of the new civic group New Yorkers for a Better Future, which commissioned the poll.

“This concern transcends neighborhood or race or ethnicity and is a reaction to what people are seeing in the streets everyday,” added DeShong, who was formerly a senior staffer to Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.

The poll, conducted May 4 to 9 by Schoen Cooperman Research, is not associated with any mayoral campaign.

Twenty-one percent of respondents listed crime as their number one issue — the topic with the most support.

That was followed by racial justice at 20 percent, and then affordable housing at 14 percent. Criminal justice and police reform was the eighth most important topic at 10 percent, after job creation.

Meanwhile, over 60 percent of those surveyed were in favor of boosting the NYPD budget, hiring more officers, and deploying more cops to the subways.

A similar majority, 63 percent, wanted the next mayor to take control of the city’s public transit system from the governor and 50 percent wanted schools fully reopened in the fall with a remote learning option. 

Over 1,000 people participated in the survey. Just under half were men and just over half were women. Forty percent of respondents were white, 30 percent black, 21 percent Latino, percent Asian and 2 percent indicated “other.” Over 50 percent identified as liberal or moderate Democrats, while just 33 percent considered themselves progressive or socialist.

The data is from the second part of a Schoen Cooperman poll that had Andrew Yang at the top of the crowded field for the June 22 primary — with 21 percent ranking him as their first choice followed by Eric Adams at 17 percent.

Neither Yang nor Adams support cutting the NYPD’s budget and both have called for more cops on the subways as the system has been plagued by a spate of slashings, shovings and other violence.

The primary will be the first citywide election to use the new ranked-choice voting system. That means New Yorkers will be able to select their preference of up to five candidates running for mayor and other offices — and the ballots will be tallied by first, second, third, fourth and fifth choice, eliminating the need for runoff election.

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