New Yorkers have high hopes for the city's future under Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who takes office in less than a month.
According to a New York Times/Siena College poll, 73 percent of New Yorkers are generally optimistic about the next four years. Sixty-five percent of residents believe that de Blasio will bring about real change in the way things are done in the city.
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The majority of New Yorkers believe the new mayor will have a positive effect on the quality of schools, police and the condition of parks. A large percentage of city residents also believe de Blasio will have a positive effect on affordable housing, job prospects and the quality of public transportation.
City residents seem especially happy about de Blasio's choice for police commissioner. Sixty-one percent of New Yorkers, including more than three-quarters of Republicans and more than two-thirds of Democrats, support de Blasio's decision to appoint Bill Bratton to the post.
Still, de Blasio will have to prove himself before earning the approval of all New Yorkers.
While more people view him favorably than unfavorably, half of city residents and 43 percent of voters said they have not seen or heard enough of the mayor to have an opinion of him.
"Despite the optimism and high hopes for de Blasio as well as his police commissioner, many New Yorkers want to take a wait-and-see attitude before they go all in on the incoming administration," said Siena College Pollster Stephen Greenberg. "More than 40 percent have only some, if not no confidence in de Blasio's ability to make the right decisions for the city's future or in his ability to effectively manage the government."
While most New Yorkers believe that Mayor Michael Bloomberg favored the rich, they believe de Blasio will treat all income groups equally, Greenberg added.
However, despite making "The Tale of Two Cities" the theme of his campaign, more than half of New Yorkers believe the gap between the rich and the poor will remain the same under de Blasio.
The poll also found that De Blasio’s proposal for citywide prekindergarten is favored by 72 percent of New Yorkers. But 48 percent of residents said they would not be willing to pay more taxes to fund it.
As for the outgoing mayor, the poll found that 53 percent of city residents approve of how Bloomberg handled his job as mayor during the last 12 years.
The poll was conducted Dec. 7-11 by phone calls to 1,016 city residents, of whom 795 are registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for residents and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for registered voters.