Do New Yorkers Like Bloomberg? It Depends on Their Race…

USA Today
USA Today

Race plays a large part in determining whether New Yorkers look back on their outgoing mayor fondly—and if they’re optimistic about the incoming one, the Wall Street Journal reports in a new poll. In general, the city is hopeful about Bill de Blasio: two thirds of registered voters said so, with a little less saying they believe he’ll make the city better. Half of respondents also said Bloomberg would be remembered fondly. But when you start to break these numbers down by demographics, you see that blacks and Latinos have a very different view of the state of the city than whites do.

Only 49 percent of white voters think de Blasio will change the city for the better, while 72 percent of blacks and 65 percent of Latinos do. The difference is more notable when it comes to Bloomberg: 60 percent of white voters think the mayor will be remembered fondly; only 32 percent of black voters do, and 44 percent of Latinos.

A large factor in this is surely stop-and-frisk, which has unconstitutionally targeted blacks and Latinos and became a focal point of the mayor campaign. But that’s not the only factor in Bloomberg’s legacy that has divided the city; such poll results also reveal the widening class divisions in New York. The answer to whether Bloomberg has been a good mayor will always be subjective: for those who have reveled in his remaking of the city as a billionaire’s playground (including those who enjoyed the modest trickle down), he was a great mayor; for those pushed to the margins, disenfranchised and disincluded, he hasn’t, and their hope is the new mayor will be different.

Follow Henry Stewart on Twitter @henrycstewart