PIX11 Mayor’s Race Poll: Homelessness top issue; ranked choice voting problem

New York Elections
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NEW YORK — A new PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College poll on the New York City mayoral race found homelessness and housing were the top issues for nearly one-third of voters who were surveyed.  

The same poll found about 70% of New Yorkers — a clear majority — do not want to defund the NYPD. More broadly, 53% of New Yorkers have a favorable view of the NYPD, despite vocal protests and calls for reform over the last year.

With those issues in mind, candidates are calibrating their messages in the final weeks of the campaign before the June 22 primary.

“We can solve the crime issue without going back to the Giuliani era, when we over-policed Black and brown communities,” mayoral candidate and city Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

Stringer found himself in a near-tie for second place in the poll released on Monday by PIX11, NewsNation, and Emerson College.

The poll showed Stringer drew most of his support from the Bronx and Manhattan, his home borough. He also performed the best among self-identified liberals and progressives, earning a combined 35%.  

The poll also showed Stringer did well with Latino voters, with 18% of those surveyed breaking in his favor.

Mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia was off the campaign trail Tuesday shooting her second TV commercial, but she too benefited from some momentum.

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The poll found Garcia drew solid support from Staten Island. She also did well with white voters. Within the new ranked choice voting system, many voters consider her a second or third choice.  

“It was Stringer and Garcia who really made the ‘up-change,’ and [Andrew] Yang who took a nose dive in this poll,” said Spencer Kimball, who leads the research team at Emerson College.

The poll also revealed it will likely take many rounds of counting to decide a winner within the ranked choice voting system. However, in order for that to work properly people need to actually pick second, third, fourth and fifth choices.

The PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson poll found only 45% of voters even have a second choice, and 35% of voters have a third.

“Almost half the people, their votes aren’t going to get counted at the end of the day,” Kimball said. “I mean, they will get counted when their candidates are there, [but if their top choice is eliminated] there’s no supplemental vote for them, no ranking.”

The poll did find more than 80% of voters have heard about the new ranked choice voting system, so perhaps by primary day more people will know how to use the rankings and maximize the impact of their vote.

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