Forget the Joker. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is now Gotham's biggest villain.
According to a newly published poll from Siena College, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is seen as New York's "biggest villain" when it comes to Amazon's decision to spurn New York and pull part of its second headquarters out of Long Island City.
“Who do New Yorkers blame? Well, there’s certainly blame enough to go around. More people think that Amazon, Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, the State Senate, and local Queens activists were villains in this saga than they were heroes," Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg said in a statement. "However, voters say the biggest villain was Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Only 12 percent call her hero, while 38 percent label her a villain.”
Greenberg continued: “Amazon itself was seen as the biggest villain among Democrats, but Republicans and independents had Ocasio-Cortez as far and away the largest villain, followed by the local Queens activists.”
Local activists were cited as the biggest villain by 34 percent of responders, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio garnered 29 percent of the response. Others who garnered votes for the biggest villain include New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (28 percent), Amazon (26 percent), the state Senate (21 percent) and labor unions, at 17 percent.
"At least 63 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents, upstaters and downstaters, men and women, young and old, black and white New Yorkers agree: Amazon pulling out of Queens was bad for New York," Greenberg added. Even 56 percent of self-described liberals think it was bad for New York. “While some may have celebrated Amazon’s announcement to pull the plug, the vast majority of New Yorkers of every stripe thought it was bad for the Empire State."
700 registered voters were questioned in the poll, with a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.
The poll also touched on a number of other issues, including congestion pricing for tolls to enter parts of Manhattan, capping property taxes, drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, as well as legalizing marijuana and vaccinations for students, with 79 percent supporting students receiving vaccinations as a requirement for attending schools.
Escape from New York
When news of Amazon's decision to pull out of New York first began to surface, Ocasio-Cortez cheered the possibility, arguing that despite the 25,000 jobs paying on average $150,000 a year, the $2.5 billion in investment and billions in tax revenue over the next few decades, Amazon was unnecessarily "creeping" against everyday people.
"Can everyday people come together and effectively organize against creeping overreach of one of the world’s biggest corporations? Yes, they can," Ocasio-Cortez said at the time.
After news of the decision became official, Ocasio-Cortez continued to defend her position in media interviews and on social media, despite significant outrage from many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Ocasio-Cortez has also been the subject of negative billboards in Times Square put up by the Job Creators Network, a conservative advocacy group funded by the Mercer Family Foundation and corporate executives.
For its part, Amazon specifically cited Ocasio-Cortez's negativity as one of the reasons for its decision to no longer build one-half of its HQ2 in Long Island City. "If you talk to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it's 'Never Amazon,'" Jodi Seth, the head of policy communications for Amazon, told NBC News in a February interview. "If you talk to [New York City Councilman Jimmy] Van Bramer, it's unions."
In a fiery statement after Amazon made its decision, Cuomo blamed socialist democratic darling Ocasio-Cortez and others like her.
"[A] small group [of] politicians put their own narrow political interests above their community – which poll after poll showed overwhelmingly supported bringing Amazon to Long Island City – the state's economic future and the best interests of the people of this state," Cuomo said publicly. "The New York State Senate has done tremendous damage. They should be held accountable for this lost economic opportunity."
“By a wide margin, New Yorkers would support the deal coming back together if Cuomo and others can convince Amazon to reconsider,” Greenberg added. “The Amazon deal was seen as very contentious, however, there was strong support for it last month, before it got canceled. There is an overwhelming feeling that its cancellation was bad for the state. And there is strong support – among all demographic groups – for Amazon to reconsider and move forward. Clearly, jobs outweigh the cost of government incentives in the minds of most voters.”
Gov. Cuomo is reportedly working behind the scenes in an effort to bring Amazon back to the state. In an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez's chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, tried to downplay the negativity, saying that the freshman lawmaker would be open to bringing the company back to New York City if the process had input from the community.
Over the weekend, Amazon received the last approval it needed for the incentive plan to build the second half of its HQ2 in Northern Virginia. On Saturday, the 5-member Arlington County Board unanimously approved the $23 million in incentives the company negotiated to begin building in Cyrstal City, as well as the $28 million needed for infrastructure improvements.
In total, Amazon is getting $750 million in state and local subsidies from Virginia.