New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Support Among New York’s Black Voters Fades

Mayor Bill de Blasio greets people at the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights in April. PHOTO: ED REED//NEW YORK MAYOR
Mayor Bill de Blasio greets people at the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights in April. PHOTO: ED REED//NEW YORK MAYOR

In April, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a black church in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights and received a standing ovation. Two weeks ago, his wife, Chirlane McCray, visited several black churches in one day. On Thursday night, black pastors met with Mr. de Blasio at Gracie Mansion. 

A little more than a year before Mr. de Blasio’s bid for re-election, his most reliable base of support remains black voters. Yet, as Mr. de Blasio has contended this spring with a number of investigations into his fundraising activities, polls and interviews suggest that his backing among black New Yorkers is eroding.

A poll released in May by Quinnipiac University showed 58% of black voters supported him, down from 77% in January. In a Wall Street Journal-NBC New York-Marist poll released in April, 49% of blacks described Mr. de Blasio’s job performance as excellent or good, a decline of 10 percentage points from last May.

Even more troubling to the mayor’s aides and allies: His trustworthiness rating in the May survey by Quinnipiac dropped among all voters, even black voters, coming in at 43% overall. It marked the first time Mr. de Blasio had registered below 50% in the category, and it fell from about 80% in January among black voters to 60% in May.

Keeping black voters in the fold is critical for the mayor, in part because his approval rating has slipped below 30% among white voters, according to the Quinnipiac survey as well as The Wall Street Journal-NBC New York-Marist poll.

“Stay out of trouble,” said Jean Davis, of Harlem, who referred to the mayor. Ms. Davis, 57 years old, said Mr. de Blasio’s political problems are of his own making. “You get tired of people just railing on him. It makes him look stupid. And it makes us look stupid for voting for him.”

In 2013, the mayor won 96% of black voters and 85% of Hispanic voters but just 54% of white voters.

As Mr. de Blasio’s political fortunes have been tested, he has worked to strengthen his ties with minority voters. In 2013, as a candidate, he spoke of a “tale of two cities,” lining up with New Yorkers whose troubles he blamed on the entrenched interests of elites.

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Source: The Wall Street Journal | MARA GAY and  JOSH DAWSEY