New Yorkers are deeply conflicted about their city, a new Quinnipiac poll shows, with nearly a third of the population that would rather throw their stuff in a refurbished ‘66 Volkswagen Bus and make for the hills, or Toronto, or anywhere but here.
The data—in which 1,138 New Yorkers were polled— is broken down by several demographics, including race, age, borough and political ideology. And wouldn’t you know, a full 32 percent of respondents wouldn’t even be here if they could get out of it. On the one hand, you have a creative class of underemployed 20-something positively (literally?) dying to live here, for reasons increasingly less clear. On the other, you’ve got those forcibly detained thanks either to their careers, families or lack of clear alternative. What if anyone not bursting with New York allegiance was given a generous tax break on a roomy home in Trenton? Would you take it? What if I said it comes with a backyard?
That figure—32 percent— seems almost conservative, considering very few people describe themselves as “very satisfied” with the city, with most people settling into “somewhat satisfied.” Interestingly, 53 percent of Democrats described themselves as “somewhat satisfied,” versus 26 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of independent voters. Is this because Republicans are particularly cantankerous? Because they haven’t fully succeeded in wiping out the city’s underclass? Because they don’t actually live here, and “somewhat satisfied” seemed like a safe option to offer over the phone from an Abu Dhabi high rise? Or is it because the bulk of conservative respondents are on Staten Island, and, as the poll shows, only 57 percent of them actually want to be here in the first place?
Asked whether the city has gotten better or worse in the last “few years,” 19 percent of Democrats feel that the city has improved, versus 6 percent of Republicans. An overwhelming 69 percent of Republicans, though, feel that the city has actually gotten worse, versus 35 percent of Democrats. But what constitutes the last “few years”? Five? Ten? It’s unclear why Quinnipiac decided to use such an unnecessarily ambiguous term. In the past “few years,” we elected Bill de Blasio, rents have spiked, and Wreck Room closed. Crime has continued to drop, the Barclays Center was born, Superstorm Sandy hit and both the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts have been transformed. A lot has happened in a “few years,” depending on how you frame it.
Still, Maurice Carroll, the poll’s assistant director, writes off New Yorkers’ malaise as a propensity for complaining.
“We do like to gripe. About 40 percent of the neighbors say New York City’s quality of life is good or real good. Another big bunch of the neighbors says it’s at least fair,” he said. “But almost half say it has gotten worse.”
Does anyone actually want to be here? Eh! While more Republicans would prefer to leave if the option arose (40 percent, versus 30 percent of Democrats), they’re also more financially equipped to live here (54 percent said they can afford it, versus 51 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independent voters.)
You can look at a more detailed breakdown of the data here. See you all in Detroit, or hell.