Mayor Bill de Blasio's approval ratings slid to a new low in a poll released Wednesday, a sign that allegations of corruption could drive him out of City Hall after one term.
De Blasio’s overall job approval rating was the worst since he took office in January 2014, with 41 percent of New Yorkers saying they approve of the mayor, according to the Quinnipiac University poll. Fifty-two percent said that de Blasio does not deserve re-election.
"It's premature to call Bill de Blasio a one-term mayor. This is just one poll, of course," said Jeffrey Smith, assistant professor of politics and advocacy at The New School's Milano School of International Affairs said.
"But it definitely contains ominous signs," he continued. "For a majority of voters to believe that a guy who ran as a good-government reformer routinely engages in pay-to-play politics suggests that his original brand is perhaps irreparably tainted."
Smith added that the drop in his approval rating doesn't mean the mayor is doomed, but it does mean he would "likely need to fashion a somewhat different electoral coalition next year" to regain the trust from New Yorkers. He also said that, if confirmed by similar findings, the poll could push others who are considering challenging de Blasio for the mayoral seat to finally pull the trigger.
"The number and variety of pending investigations means that the bad press may be just beginning for de Blasio, as each investigation will produce documents, subpoenas, and potential offenses by de Blasio aides or associates," Smith said. "It's going to be a long, hot summer for a mayor whose notoriously poor relationships with the media are not going to help him weather this storm."
The polling, one of the first since a federal and state probe into de Blasio's questionable fundraising activitiesy was launched earlier this year, found that 53 percent of New Yorkers disapprove of the way de Blasio has handled the allegations of corruption.
Fifty-five percent of New Yorkers polled believe deBlasio "does favors for developers who make political contributions to campaigns in which he is involved." Of those who believe he engages in pay-for-play politics, 54 percent said his actions are unethical but not illegal.
"With a virtual wildfire of news stories about corruption investigations, voters think Mayor Bill de Blasio has favored well-connected real estate people," Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll stated.
"Heading into his re-election year, Mayor Bill de Blasio is not in good political shape. His job approval hits rock bottom, and he even is losing ground among black and Hispanic voters," Carroll said.
From May 18 to 23, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,038 New York City voters by phone. The poll had an error margin of plus or minus 3 percent.
Karen Hinton, press secretary for the mayor, dismissed the poll as "nothing but loaded questions."
"It’s like asking voters if they approve of robbing little old ladies," Hinton said. "Contrary to the poll’s premise, this mayor is requiring developers to build affordable housing, and he is the first mayor to do so in the city’s history.”