Home News Harry Siegel: Eric Adams is losing New Yorkers by the numbers

Harry Siegel: Eric Adams is losing New Yorkers by the numbers

The fundamental problem for Mayor Adams right now isn’t his agenda.

He knows how to read a poll, and to align his words and sometimes his administration’s actions with popular opinion. And he knows how to assign blame when needed to lawmakers who often owe their jobs to diehard primary voters.

The fundamental problem for Adams right now is that New Yorkers, myself included, don’t think his actions have matched his promises or that his results have lived up to his rhetoric.

A new poll of likely voters from the conservative Manhattan Institute is the latest to show what a deep hole Adams is in just a couple years after New Yorkers chose him to be the city’s 110th mayor — and as he’s racing to reset the narrative including through a baptism on Rikers Island last month he says was “part of this journey of recommitting myself to the city” and his faith. 

He’s doing that while two federal investigations are looming, his approval rating is at an historic low, and prospective challengers are testing their positions ahead of November’s presidential election. 

After that, it’s a seven-month sprint to next June’s primary that will likely decide whether the city is led in 2026 by its first two-term Black mayor, something Adams has brought up a fair amount recently, or its 111th mayor. 

Just 16% of voters say they’d cast a ballot for Adams if the mayoral election were held today, while 65% say they’d choose “someone else.”

That 49-point gap includes Republicans and independents who are routinely disenfranchised in the city’s dysfunctional voting system, in which most contests are decided in low-turnout primaries only open to registered Democrats. 

But Adams is also deep underwater among Democrats, with just 20% saying they’d vote for him today while 61% say they’d vote for someone else. Among Black voters, Adams is losing to Not Adams, 38-47.

Over the last few months, the mayor’s new mantra has been “jobs up, crime down.”

But what up and down mean, and from when, is the slippery part.

Just 11% of New Yorkers think the city is more safe than it was four years ago while 62% think it’s less safe, according to the MI poll. 

Among Democrats, it’s 14-53, meaning there are nearly four primary voters who don’t think the ex-cop is living up to his core public safety promise for every one who thinks he is. 

That’s despite overwhelming support for more cops in the subways, the city’s essential circulatory system, and Adams sending waves of them down there on mandatory overtime. 

There’s a clear cultural gap between the numbers NYPD bosses expect officers to produce aboveground and the conditions New Yorkers want addressed underground.

The only way to move the city past modern homelessness, a phenomenon that may seem like it’s always been here and always will be but only dates back to the late 1970s, is with structural, upstream changes that go past what the police can or should do.

Those start with getting mentally ill people who need help into hospital beds, and shelters that aren’t so dire people would rather live in the subways. 

The NYPD deputy commissioner for operations said the other day he’s assembling a taskforce that will use some of the department’s 600 officers with backgrounds in clinical or social work to engage people who are severely mentally ill “so they can get the help they need.”

But that’s the same deputy commissioner who said a few weeks ago there was nothing police could do to remove those people from the subway system if they weren’t in the midst of committing a crime. 

Having NYPD bosses endlessly tweet pictures of themselves while promoting unchallenging 5-minute TV interviews isn’t going to change New Yorkers’ perceptions about public safety any more than this column will. 

That takes deeds, not words.

Voters elevated Adams to his first position of real executive power after he offered himself as the leader who could make a city shaken up by the pandemic feel safe again without resorting to the sometimes abusive police practices of its bad old days.

But at a time when 40% of voters say “Crime and Public Safety” is their top concern, more than “Housing Costs” (22%) and “Migrants and Immigration” (16%) combined, they don’t think the ex-cop has delivered.

One last number from that poll: 25% of New Yorkers say they have a favorable impression of Adams while 69% have an unfavorable one. 

That’s two points worse than the 28-70 split for Donald Trump, another kid from Queens who made it to the big stage.

Siegel (harrysiegel@gmail.com) is an editor at The City, a host of the FAQ NYC podcast and a columnist for the Daily News.


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