NEW YORK – As the main New York mayoral race enters the past 10 weeks, a leftist group – backed by a new poll showing its popularity for its main political goals – prepares to present a public affair against frontrunner Andrew Yang.
The “Our City” political action committee recently commissioned a survey that found 56% of likely voters don’t know who to support in the eight-vote Democratic primary – a race Yang has dominated since joining in January. But the same 509 voters said they were looking for a candidate determined to shift resources out of the NYPD, develop affordable housing, and raise taxes on high incomes to support the city’s recovery from Covid-19.
This does not describe some of Yang’s positions, although he has led all public polls, collected donations quickly, and commissioned information rounds – all at the expense of other well-funded campaigns that claim to be more in tune with the progressive movement.
The organization said candidate rankings are not available until pollster, progressive think tank Data For Progress, finishes analyzing the results with respect to the ranked choice voting system which debuts in the city this year. Several people familiar with the investigation said Yang is still ahead of the game, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and former City Hall attorney Maya Wiley following him.
With what she sees as a clear mandate for a political platform – if not a specific candidate – Our city says it’s time to start warning voters about Yang, an entrepreneur turned candidate. the presidential election which is skeptical of increasing taxes on the rich and has agreed to work with the private sector on the city’s takeover.
“We want to make sure that a progressive candidate wins the mayoral race and make sure that no voter votes for a conservative and non-progressive candidate and that’s definitely Andrew Yang,” said Gabe Tobias, who runs Our City. PAC, in an interview. . He said fundraising for the PAC is underway.
Tobias said Adams, a former policeman who backs real estate development and has amassed union support, does not pose as much of a threat to the party’s left flank.
“I think the positions of Eric Adams are very far removed from the progressive positions in most areas, but we are more concerned with the progressives’ vote for Andrew Yang than with the fact that they vote for Eric Adams”, a- he added.
He also expressed concern that low voter turnout, common in the city’s Democratic primaries, will benefit Yang.
Yang’s representative, Alyssa Cass, highlighted his promises of cash payments to the 500,000 most financially distressed New Yorkers – a scaled-down municipal version of the universal basic income plan he popularized during the presidential campaign.
“Doesn’t the very definition of successful activism define an agenda, sell a vision, and push people to do it?” Said Cass. “On these issues, Andrew Yang is aligned with the situation of progressives, including progressive activists. I think the biggest chasm is sometimes rhetoric – it doesn’t always use ideological buzzwords. But as for the bottom, it is aligned.
Yang recently expressed concern over tax increases on high-income New Yorkers during an appearance before a pro-business civic organization, the Association for a Better New York, but Cass said he was determined to reform the property tax system, which disproportionately benefits the wealthy. . Both would require cooperation in Albany.
The SMS and web poll conducted by Data for Progress mirrored an earlier survey commissioned by lobbying group Fontas Advisors: 44% said they had not yet chosen a preferred candidate and 12% said they were unsure of the June 22 primary competition. , according to the results shared with POLITICO. Another 28 percent said they favored some suitors but did not settle an order. Ranked choice allows voters to select up to five candidates in the likely event that no one gets 50% of the vote at the start.
Respondents shied away from attributes that candidates emphasized – personal stories, endorsements, managerial experience, relationships with state and federal authorities – in favor of a strong political agenda. More than six in 10 cited a strong political platform as a major consideration, but only 40% said it was imperative that a candidate shares their values.
Likely voters also described ideological alignment with progressives: 53% said they would support a candidate who advocates “shifting significant responsibilities and budget from the NYPD to civilian agencies and social programs.” Other than former nonprofit leader Dianne Morales, no candidate has agreed to call for the NYPD to be “defunded”, but several support the transfer of some responsibilities to other agencies in the city.
Another 59 percent said they agreed to reduce the number of people incarcerated “instead of building new prisons to replace Rikers Island”.
Two-thirds of voters said they did not support candidates accepting real estate contributions – which most candidates are this cycle – and want more affordable housing.
“There are still a lot of voters who are undecided, and while Yang may be catching attention early in this race, it is far from over,” said Data for Progress political director Marcela Mulholland. .
The poll did not ask about the rise in crime – an issue Adams insists on track as the communities he wooes face an increase in gun violence. Last week Adams rolled out a gun safety plan to the steps of a Bronx courthouse and over the weekend he joined a graffiti cleanup effort at a compound in public housing in the Bronx.
“We must fight for police reform in the city, but we must be equally outraged and vehement at the violence in this city,” Adams said at the press conference. “A mother receives no consolation if you knock on her door and say, ‘Miss Jones, your son was not killed by a policeman in a blue uniform, but he was killed by a gangbanger in blue jeans.’ She doesn’t cry any differently.
Neither Adams nor Yang are likely vying for support for the Working Families Party, which is voting this week on the mayor’s approval. Several people involved in the process said the organization tends to support more than one candidate, with its membership split between Morales, Stringer and Wiley.
The third, made up of militant organizations, has its own voting line but generally endorses Democratic candidates for election.
In top-down ballot races, it provides ground troops for voter outreach, a more difficult feat in city-wide elections and particularly during a pandemic. It is, however, considered a progressive seal of approval.
Those involved in the approval process, who would only speak in the background to freely discuss private meetings, said members were concerned about Morales’ ability to win, given his low profile and low profile. drawbacks in fundraising. While many appreciate Stringer’s loyalty to their causes, they would rather not support one white man than two women of color. And some are troubled by Wiley’s record during his time in the senior ranks of Blasio’s administration.
“Anyone who calls themselves a progressive, you’d be lying to yourself if you said you didn’t watch Dianne Morales,” Stanley Fritz, political director of Citizen Action, said in an interview. “If I’m in a meeting with our members and we’re talking about transformational change, that sounds a lot like what Dianne is saying.