The New York Times has been pretty poll happy lately, asking New Yorkers questions about stop-and-frisk, whether or not the NYPD is racially biased, and how they would feel if Bloomberg ran for a fourth-term in which he declared himself emperor of the city. Or something like that.
The results, while not particularly surprising, are still important to read, if only to validate that everything you already think is, in fact, correct. And isn’t that why we all read the news anyway? To validate our pre-existing assumptions? No? Okay, then!
The Times’ polls revealed that a majority of New Yorkers (64%) believe that the NYPD favors whites, and while that majority is comprised of all New Yorkers surveyed, the results are more dramatic when broken down along racial lines. The Times poll results show that this view “is particularly prevalent among black New Yorkers, 80 percent of whom say the police favor one race over the other. A plurality of white residents — 48 percent — agree.” However, a plurality of New Yorkers (including a majority of whites) think that the NYPD’s tactic of stop-and-frisk is “acceptable” despite the fact that it is heavily skewed toward stopping black and Latino males. And, overall, New Yorkers are cool with the job Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is doing because he has an approval rating of 61%.
Would those numbers have been any different if the poll had been done following the news that the NYPD’s controversial spying program that targeted Muslim neighborhoods turned up exactly ZERO leads? Probably not. But it’s something to think about.
As for the mayor, 48% of New Yorkers approve of the job that he is doing, though they wouldn’t vote for him if he ran again. Not only that but “nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers said [Bloomberg] should not have been allowed to run for a third term,” which certainly weren’t the attitudes of all the people who voted for him three years ago, but whatever. HIndsight is 20/20 and all that.
There was actually an astoundingly positive strain running through the polls in terms of how New Yorkers viewed both their current quality of life and their future prospects. Despite the fact that unemployment is still the main concern of New Yorkers, in this year’s poll ” the proportion of New Yorkers who describe the local economy as good has risen sharply, to 45 percent from the 29 percent measured in a Times/CBS News survey in August 2011.” Also a majority of New Yorkers feel that, under the leadership of Mayor Bloomberg, the quality of life for city residents has either improved or stayed the same. Three cheers for plateauing!
The Times does have one statistic that worries me though. Apparently, “the proportion [of people] who would prefer to keep living in the city, rather than move away, is at the highest level in more than a decade.” Which, we see why this is a good thing. But, seriously, isn’t it time for a little population flight? Sometimes the sheer amount of people in this city, even just the thought of it, makes me feel itchy in my own skin. Why does everybody want to stay here? We have a biased police department that will pull you aside and frisk you if you look at them funny and will covertly watch minority communities for years with absolutely nothing to show for it. Plus our rents are too damn high. C’mon, people. Go somewhere else. I’ve heard good things about Philly. Well, I’ve heard things about Philly. Give it a try! Report back to the New York Times, they’re always trying to keep their finger on the pulse of the next new thing. And, lately, it seems like they’ll publish just about anything!
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