Headline after headline, day after day, week after week, New Yorkers are uninterested in listening to tales about our rising crime downside. They’re sick of feeling unsafe, and they’re achieved with politicians who pander to the activist pro-criminal fringe.
This month’s crosstabs reveal a startling turnaround in our physique politic. Even past crime, New York voters are much less alarmed by the problems native Democratic leaders have lengthy campaigned on and extra pushed by the nationwide and statewide issues Republicans hope to handle. Briefly, because the squeeze from taxes, inflation and an financial downturn turns into insufferable, longstanding GOP considerations have turn into extra visceral within the lives of the center class.
After crime, which 24% of survey respondents listed as their No. 1 concern for our subsequent governor, the remainder of New Yorkers’ prime 5 points have been: taxes (9%), the financial system (8%), authorities ethics (7%) and inflation (6%).
Two items of knowledge buried within the ballot assist inform the story of New York’s shifting political priorities. Practically three-quarters (73%) of respondents need the state’s 16-cent gasoline tax repealed, together with a whopping 80% of Democrats. Whereas their social gathering leaders hope to “break the car culture,” Democratic voters appear simply as anxious about their commuting prices and month-to-month bills as their GOP and impartial counterparts.
Solely 3% of voters listed local weather as their prime difficulty. That’s in distinction to polling final yr, when 80% of Siena respondents claimed climate change as a priority, 79% supported the conversion to electrical automobiles and 78% hoped for zero-emission power manufacturing by 2040.
These numbers don’t bode effectively for Gov. Kathy Hochul, who noticed her lowest job-performance numbers thus far. Her perceived capability to shepherd the state’s prosperity was a significant factor. Solely 30% of her constituents belief her to proper the ship, and her ballyhooed Buffalo Payments stadium-financing deal, touted as a “confirmed financial driver,” earned the assist of simply one-quarter of New Yorkers, with the bottom numbers coming from upstate.
The grim outlook for Democrats doesn’t solely stem from New Yorkers’ checklist of prime points. The underside of that checklist ought to be trigger for concern, as effectively.
Solely 3% cited the pandemic, and a couple of% stated “racial, non secular and social justice.” Should you look on the Twitter feeds and press releases of our elected officers, you would possibly assume Democrats have solely been speaking about these points the previous two years. Moreover, the opposite pillars of the social gathering’s platform — housing, well being care, abortion rights and immigration — all polled even decrease. By comparability, in our final gubernatorial election yr, codifying Roe v. Wade and passing the state’s DREAM Act have been two of probably the most extensively supported points in a Siena poll that spring.
Nothing highlights the broad turnaround of New Yorkers’ priorities, and maybe the fortunes of its elected officers, greater than the U-turn on criminal-justice coverage. Once more, wanting again at 2018, two-thirds of voters supported the elimination of money bail for misdemeanors and a few felonies. The change didn’t come in a single day, and by January 2020, inside weeks of its implementation, bail reform’s assist was nearly halved to 37%. Nonetheless, Democratic legislative leaders fought again towards any repeal.
Furthermore, 2020 was the yr of “Defund the Police,” a government-by-hashtag coverage voters clearly affiliate with the Democratic Social gathering. But even after Dems took a walloping on it that November, its leaders in New York, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, got here out even more durable in its protection.
Now, in 2022, public security is on the prime of New Yorkers’ checklist of considerations, a majority of voters assume bail reform has elevated criminality and Hochul’s approval score on combating crime is the bottom of any difficulty Siena polled.
Crime is the scarlet letter of New York Democrats and the ball and chain plunging Hochul’s approval score to new depths.
Mayor Eric Adams’ election ought to have been the wakeup name for Albany leaders. On the problems of crime, policing and reforms to our prison justice system, he has been proper. Putting blame on the dangerous guys and never the police was a stunning platform in a Democratic major in some of the progressive cities within the nation. Adams profitable that major ought to have made different elected officers take a protracted look within the mirror.
Quick ahead one yr, and little has modified. The minuscule bail-reform amendments handed on this yr’s finances will scarcely change the cycle of repeat offenders in New York state — a thought shared by liberals and conservatives polled. Solely the voters can shift our state’s trajectory on this difficulty and others; however at the least it’s clear now they need a change of route.
Joe Borelli is the minority chief of the New York Metropolis Council.