Friday, November 21, 2008

Slip Sliding Away?

Well the Marist Poll is out, and it looks as if the mayor may be heading onto a slippery slope-as his popularity has taken it's first dip: "Although a majority of registered voters in New York City -- 59% -- think Mayor Michael Bloomberg is doing either an excellent or good job in office, his approval rating has dropped significantly. This is the first time since 2005 that his job performance rating has dipped into the 50 percent range"

As we have been saying, the term limits debacle may have created the conditions for a popular re-evaluation of Bloomberg; with his "above politics" image severely tarnished. As the poll reveals: "Mayor Bloomberg may have won the battle to extend New York City’s term limits, allowing him to run for a third term, but he has a long way to go to convince New Yorkers that the change is a good one. While 30% of the electorate believes the decision by the City Council and the mayor is good for the city, a plurality of the electorate -- 43% -- disagrees with the change. In fact, 48% want the courts to overturn the decision and revert back to the two term limit. 42% think the courts should uphold the new law."

In our view, once the image is challenged, a degree of vulnerability is created that can, if properly exploited, lead to the mayor's demise. The calamitous economic conditions-and the mayor's response to them-will provide the backdrop for the ongoing political narrative; but term limits extension may prove to be Bloomberg's Rubicon. As Liz tells us: "On term limits: 40 percent of those polled said they're less likely to support the mayor for a third term because he changed the rules mid-stream"

As the City Room also indicates, the Marist Poll revealed that Congressman Anthony Weiner was in striking distance of the mayor-with Bloomberg receiving only 51% of the vote to Weiner's 37%; a sign that the mayor may be vulnerable, especially as he is forced to make any number of unpopular decisions around the city's budget. Clearly, the political terrain has shifted, and the result of next year's mayoralty is perhaps not as much of a foregone conclusion as many of us have thought.


According to Marist pollster Lee Miringoff (who agrees with our point above), the mayor's current poll numbers could be a harbinger of things to come: "Says Miringoff: "He is popular but the numbers have declined so the question is are we looking a short term fallout from the term limit or are we seeing a trend line with people being dissatisfied because of the economy."