NEW YORK — A rise in crime has become a major priority for City Hall, the NYPD and the MTA in recent weeks, but it’s also a priority at the ballot box, according to a new PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College poll released Tuesday.
The poll, the third of its kind for the 2021 New York City mayoral race, found that the majority of respondents felt crime should be the top priority for the city’s new chief executive, with shootings up 166% year over year in April, according to NYPD data. Overall crime rose 30% in April 2021 compared to April 2020.
When asked which issue should be the mayor’s top priority — regardless of who wins the election — 20% of voters said crime; 17% said housing; 12% said homelessness; 11% said COVID-19; and 10% said police reform.
That’s a significant change from the May 17 poll, when homelessness was ranked as the top issue at 19.6%; housing placed second at 15.3%; and jobs ranked third at 12.2%.
The poll also surveyed voters on their anticipated choices at the ballot box.
Kathryn Garcia, a former NYC Sanitation Department commissioner, led the Democratic primary polling with 21% of votes. She was followed closely by Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams — a steady frontrunner in all three PIX11 polls — who garnered 20% of votes from those surveyed.
The only other candidate to poll above 5% was nonprofit executive Dianne Morales, who got 7%.
Former Obama Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and banking executive Ray McGuire followed, rounding out the top candidates in the race.
Garcia’s stock has risen in each of the three PIX11 polls.
When factoring in the city’s new ranked choice voting system, Garcia maintained a narrow lead in all rounds of the latest poll except for round 6, when Adams won by 0.3%.
Ranked choice voting asks voters to pick up to five choices for mayor and rank them in order of preference. In each round, the candidate with the lowest number of first place votes is eliminated and people who voted for that candidate will then have their second-place vote counted.
In a recent Democratic debate — hosted by THE CITY, NY1 and WNYC/Gothamist — each of the eight candidates, except for Stringer, Wiley and Morales, said they would put more police into the subway to deal with recent upticks in crime, though Wiley felt more mental health professionals should be sent.
The seven leading Democratic candidates for New York City mayor will participate in an exclusive two-hour forum on PIX11 News on Thursday from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Candidates were required to register voter support of 5% or more in PIX11’s May 17 poll in order to participate.
Editor’s note: Mayoral candidate Dianne Morales initially agreed to take part in Thursday’s forum but later canceled her interview.