Poll: Bloomberg approval ratings lowest in 8 years

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2011 7:41 PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval ratings have fallen to their lowest level in eight years, with more than half of city voters disapproving of his job performance, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Of those questioned, 51 percent of voters disapprove of the third-term mayor's performance, while 39 percent approve. For Bloomberg, they're his worst poll results since the unpopular days of the first half of his first term. In November 2003, 51 percent of surveyed voters said they disapproved and 37 percent approved.

"The mayor is making tough choices in a difficult time, which is what people elected him to do," Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser said in response to the poll.

Some voter gripes were evident in the survey: 69 percent said they were unhappy with the administration's handling of snow removal this winter, when a day-after-Christmas snowstorm brought much of the metropolis to a grinding halt; 49 percent disapproved of the performance of Cathie Black, Bloomberg's controversial schools chancellor appointee; 84 percent want him to announce who's in charge of the city when he leaves town.

But Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, chalked up the mayor's decline to "the third-term blahs," adding that the same phenomenon affected former governors Mario Cuomo and George Pataki, ex-mayor Ed Koch, and even President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Carroll argued that after nearly a decade in office, the press has gotten a little tired of Bloomberg and the administration may also be running out of steam. Meanwhile, after so many years of decision-making, voters have had the chance for their dissatisfactions to add up, he said.

"You've made a lot of decisions. People like a lot of it. There are some that they don't like, and the 'don't likes' accumulate," he said.

Other local officials fared better in the survey. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had 67 percent approval, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had 55 percent, City Comptroller John Liu had 54 percent and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio had 44 percent.

A full 72 percent say that the mayor's weekend destinations or vacation spots are private and the public doesn't have to be informed. Even more, 79 percent, say the media shouldn't follow the mayor or report on his time-off activity.

Just under two-thirds say the billionaire mayor wouldn't make a good president _ a possibility he has previously explored. Still, voters like the mayor's efforts to insert himself into the national debate on issues such as gun violence and immigration. Sixty-seven percent of voters say Bloomberg's involvement in national issues is good for New York.

The university's pollsters interviewed 1,115 registered voters by phone from March 8-14. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.