What's Behind de Blasio's Racial Optimism Gap?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Voters in Jamaica, Queens casting ballots in the 2013 primary election. Voters in Jamaica, Queens casting ballots in the 2013 primary election. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll helps decode the recent Quinnipiac poll, which found that black and Hispanic voters were much more optimistic about the future than white voters in NYC, among other things.

The Quinnipiac poll shows "there are almost no gender gaps, but wide racial gaps":

  • Black voters are optimistic about the city 81 - 13 percent and Hispanic voters are optimistic 69 - 21 percent, with white voter optimism at 51 - 45 percent 
  • The mayor will make their life better rather than worse, black voters say 43 - 11 percent and Hispanic voters say 34 - 14 percent, while white voters say 33 - 26 percent their life will get worse.


Maurice Carroll

Comments [28]

David from Manhattan

As usual, Brian is the poster boy for the Democratic National Committee and he makes no bones about his lefty views in this regard. And, it is painfully obvious that Maurice Carroll is also in this camp which calls into question any polling coming out of his shop. "Encouraging and warming" trait?????? Give me a break!!!

Mar. 23 2014 11:05 AM
Balzac from Staten Island

Of course poor people like DeBlasio. He wants to take money out of the pockets of those of us who work and give it to those who don't. He'll be out in three years, and this silly experiment in income redistribution will end.

Mar. 22 2014 10:07 AM

" . . . The Tyranny of Experts advances the case that freedom must be at the heart of the fight against poverty. In doing so, it makes some important and thought-provoking points. Easterly dismisses any causal link between economic growth and “enlightened” authoritarian regimes, such as that of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore or the Chinese Communist party since Mao. He also questions the short-term and unreliable nature of data measuring apparent progress in tackling poverty – chiding Bill Gates and Tony Blair, for instance, for their recent praise of apparent reductions of infant mortality in Ethiopia. Easterly argues both that the improvements are open to question, and that the price paid was the endorsement of Ethiopia’s now deceased leader Meles Zenawi, a “benevolent autocrat” accused of jailing opponents and using aid to manipulate support. . . . "

Mar. 21 2014 02:20 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Missed show but just listened to replay.

I agree with poster Jane and caller Jason that - ever the good liberal white boy (and he is going to constantly remind you of it) - BRIAN turned this into a divisive, racial, class warfare discussion. The smug, nasty remarks about the people in Staten Island were really unprofessional.

.... and who but Lefty water boy Brian could turn an 8 point drop (in just his first 2 months) in approval of de Blasio into a contrived segment on "optimism"? If he continues to drop 4% every month .... well, even a NYC public school graduate can do that math.

Mar. 21 2014 01:39 PM
Bob from Manhattan

I am a white male over sixty. I find the question posed, "are you more optimistic or pessimistic about the city in the next four years?" a very disappointing one.
Optimistic or pessimistic about what issue? At this moment, for young adults between the ages of 22 and 35, finding a rent stabilized apartment in the city is practically impossible. Landlords, particularly in Brooklyn, have
gutted many apartments, refurbished them, and now can legally charge rents above the rent stabilization limit of $2,500. Will the young people paying these rents be able to hold on to these apartments, since the landlords can raise the rent now at will. And as apartments get more expensive for young professionals, they can only look for rentals in neighborhoods where they displace low income families of all races. This is an issue, a problem that the city faces today. How can one be "optimistic" or "pessimistic" about it? It's a problem that has to be solved. The irony here is that even as people with more wealth seem to be turned off on DeBlasio, real estate prices, since he has taken office, have exploded upwards. I just wonder how all this can be dealt with in the next four years.

Mar. 21 2014 11:45 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

I agree with the caller Jason. The media and the polls perpetuate racial division by focusing on and presenting issues in black and white terms. Simplifying all issues by sorting folks into one or the other of these two groups is a holdover from the past. As long as racism effects people's lives we do need to present certain realities very clearly as being related to race or ethnicity but so many other issues in our day to day lives should be divided by a criteria other than color. Language is a powerful thing, the more we repeat something the more it becomes true.

Mar. 21 2014 11:08 AM

So - no one can dispute the "value" of the mandatory pre-K programing that the caring cognoscenti have been developing in their spare time, left over from their labors on the Common Core curriculum and standards.
(And I'm sure they would be the first to assure you that "if you like your child, and the way you are raising her, you can keep your child")

But has anyone "looked under the hood" of this policy to find out whether the "mandatory" means that the City is mandated to provide these services or does "mandatory" describe the duty to attend pre-K? Or, do we have to wait for the legislation to pass before we find out what it "Mandates"?

@Joyce from NYC:

Concern for those kind of behaviors is not important in Brian's analytical framework except as a "marker" for non-progressive, bigoted thought.

Mar. 21 2014 10:57 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Many of the poor are poor because they live in neighborhoods with cultures that support making poor choices, minimizes the importance of learning English language skills.

Mar. 21 2014 10:56 AM
NoyB from NYC

Mr. Carroll: "I can't imagine anyone being against the minimum wage, other than the people who have to pay it."
Caller: "People with money have nothing to worry about."
How about: We won't be equal until poor people have more money than rich people.

I suspect that Christine Quinn or Bill Thompson could have defeated de Blasio in a general election. Maybe even Anthony Weiner.

Also it's none of your business what class I belong too. Possible hint: I've been stopped and frisked.

Mar. 21 2014 10:49 AM
allison from 10023

Two points:

1. A (rather patronizing) Maurice Carroll: "He's only been in office two months. Let's give him a chance." Begs the question of what sort of valid and reliable information can you extract from a poll done at this time.

2. Which brings me to a larger and more pernicious issue: the anti-democratic (small "d") impact of polls. If the poll results weren't constantly above the fold in the run-up to the mayoral election, with its "landslide" prediction for de Blasio, it stands to reason that more people (i.e., more than the actual 24%) would have turned out to vote. Pre-election polls that favor one candidate so overwhelmingly as they did this past fall ultimately have a voter suppression effect.

Mar. 21 2014 10:34 AM
Tom in Brooklyn from Windsor Terrace

In response to and support of Jason (sitting across from BAM):

Language, and especially vocabulary, forms the boundaries if not the content of our thought, if one can be distinguished from the other. "Black," "race" and more recently "people of color" all set the lines between which we play the game of conscious thought and the way we communicate with each other. Few of us ever question the validity of this vocabulary, never mind see how it perpetuates the very situations we want to see done away with.

Mar. 21 2014 10:29 AM
Tom in Brooklyn from Windsor Terrace

In response to and support of Jason (sitting across from BAM):

Language, and especially vocabulary, forms the boundaries if not the content of our thought, if one can be distinguished from the other. "Black," "race" and more recently "people of color" all set the lines between which we play the game of conscious thought and the way we communicate with each other. Few of us ever question the validity of this vocabulary, never mind see how it perpetuates the very situations we want to see done away with.

Mar. 21 2014 10:28 AM

How many of the well off spoke up to say Bloomberg was pitting one group against another when the New York Times and others were reporting on the highest homeless rates since the depression? How about when Bloomberg said that too many whites were being stopped and frisked. How about being insulted by the displacement of the poor and near poor by the better off? At the beginning of Bloomberg's first campaign for mayor he was asked about the placement of bus depots and sanitation dumps in poor neighborhoods with high asthma rates. He responded in that irked tone of his that that's what it means to be poor. Any of the well off insulted then? The poor are too busy trying to get by to waste time feeling put out.

Mar. 21 2014 10:27 AM
Michael from Green Wood Heights, Brooklyn

The caller Amy could not be more wrong. The mayor is not villifying people with money. He is simply trying to use the law reduce the divide between rich and poor. As a self described liberal, she should recognize that these changes cannot take place unless those of means join that cause. Case in point: FDR.

Mar. 21 2014 10:26 AM
Barbara Fisher from Stapleton Staten Island

Responding to the comment about Staten Island. We have more registered Democrats than Republicans and I'm one of them. Unfortunately, Dems don't always vote for the Democrats or at all for that matter; one reason that SI has such a bad rep. However, like the rest of the city we are active, independent, Caucasian, Black, Bi-Racial, Asian, Latino, straight, gay, lesbian, bi, trans, disability & animals activists. I'm on the North Shore which did support the Mayor. He's got a lot of catching up to do, particularly for those of us who are artists, teaching artists, and alternative educators. The last administration dissolved our superintendency and forced us out leaving our most vulnerable learners without advocates. I'm a lifelong New Yorker but still optimistic.

Mar. 21 2014 10:23 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. Carroll's hesitation about the word "minority" was interesting. I try to put it in terms of "national minority," since whites aren't a majority on either the worldwide level or the city level (in many cities), but they are the majority on the national level (in the US) least so far.

Mar. 21 2014 10:22 AM
Joyce from NYC

Brian says" "To fight racial disparity don't we have to look at opinion by race and income."


How about "To fight racial and income disparity, don't we have to see that those in trouble:
- Complete their education
- Learn fractions, get job skills
- Don't have kids until finishing high school, getting a first job, getting married


This stuff works and will solve the problem, and then we will lose our ideological complaining.

Mar. 21 2014 10:22 AM

White jew; I don't make much, especially after paying my student loans. I am really, really pessimistic about the next four years. I think DiBlasio is great at rhetoric and hyperbole, and he will in fact do good things for the very very poor, but he won't reach the middle class. I think he wil do the easy things. Will he be able to do the hard things? I doubt it. It's great that will be a marginal few more low income apartments in the Domino building, but the increase just isn't that much. I also find it VERY troubling that he is appointing people who seem to be acting vengefully -- that Chancellor or whoever it was who proudly and emphatically stated that the Board of Ed would not help the displaced charter school students. That aspect of the DiBlasio administration strikes fear in my heart for the next four years.

Mar. 21 2014 10:20 AM

race, race RACE!!!!!!

Mar. 21 2014 10:20 AM
Elizabeth from Brooklyn

I'm optimistic. I'm white and middle class, but I am optimistic because I want New York to be a city for more than just the upper class. Progress should be more than construction of new condo buildings. Universal Pre-K is something we desperately need! The woman who called in complaining about the "tone" really makes me sad. Is she really that sensitive? Get real! It's about time to address the real issues in this city and think about equality. Maybe his policies won't directly benefit me, but they will promote a diverse and interesting city instead of a playground for the wealthy.

Mar. 21 2014 10:20 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I think America is becoming more divided between Sunni and Shia all the time.

Mar. 21 2014 10:19 AM

I'm a liberal from Staten Island (yes real minority). White and middle class. Deblasio leaves me very optimistic because he seems to be the only politician I've seen in years to follow a real liberal agenda. By caparison cuomo appears to be a pseudo-republican.

Mar. 21 2014 10:18 AM

I still worry about DeB. He's not liberal enough. He's in favor of taller buildings and giving more bene's to the real estate moguls. Not good. The developers are ruining this City, and Bill doesn't seem to see it. Bill needs to be more progressive, not less.

Mar. 21 2014 10:17 AM
oscar from ny

I'm glad diblasio devalued this city...these yuppies wanna put their pot of flowers like barn in top of metal city..

Mar. 21 2014 10:16 AM
BK from Hoboken

DiBlasio loses many wealthier progressives because of his tone. My brother and sister in law live in the city and are progressive liberals who have always voted democrat. They are high earners who also can't understand the tone of DiBlasio. DiBlasio seems to want to equalize pay for no other reason than to equalize pay. There are always going to be pay differences. Certainly we should close tax loopholes like the carried interest loophole, but that hedge fund manager will still make millions. Can't change that.
To the commenter about infrastructure- you do realize that infrastructure is for everyone?

Mar. 21 2014 10:16 AM
Jay from Manhattan

More pessimistic. Promises, promises. Taxes are going up to pay for increased social programs. Will they be effective or just waste money? While it looks like under the charade of sustainable housing -- who are the 200,000? -- we will end up with a denser, less livable city with higher taxes, Disillusioned once I heard that one of his donors was the owner of the land under the carriage horse stables who wants to put up a major development on the site. While other developers will be able to override zoning and put up taller buildings by including "affordable housing". A democrat, but not a socialist. White Male 50s

Mar. 21 2014 10:12 AM
carolita from nyc

As a person of mixed heritage, wonder why you're not asking how mixed heritage people feel!
Well, I like DeBlasio. I just want him to get the rich to pay for infrastructure. Not just universal pre-K. Let him use the money that Cuomo has come through with trying to take the wind out of his sails for infrastructure. The rich should pay for infrastructure. They're enjoying this city on the backs of the middle and lower classes. We need new bridges, new gas and water pipes, hey, we need any number of things in this city.

Mar. 21 2014 10:10 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It's only natural that groups that are on the ascendency will feel more positive than those who peaked a long time ago and now feel they can only lose ground economically. Back in the '40s and '50s, Jews and Italians felt themselves coming up and the Irish felt on the decline in terms of power in the city. Now, finally Blacks and Hispanics and other more recent immigrant groups now have businesses, are becoming professionals, and are therefore ascendent and hence are naturally going to feel more positive than those who've reached high points and can feel themselves possibly slipping back down. So this is hardly surprising.

Mar. 21 2014 10:08 AM

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