Crime and public safety remain the most pressing issues facing New York City — and defunding the NYPD isn’t the answer, a New York Post poll of 1,000 likely and early voters in the Democratic primary found.
The survey, commissioned by the Post through McLaughlin & Associates and conducted between June 10-15, found that 29.4% of respondents said public safety was the more important issue.
And 43.2% of respondents broadly view public safety as the single issue that would most impact their vote for mayor.
Of that group, 30.2% of respondents specifically identified their top priority as reducing crime, such as surging city shootings, including the senseless murder of 10-year-old Queens boy Justin Wallace earlier this month.
"[To] anyone who rides the subway regularly, as I do, there is a kind of scary feeling that we haven’t felt in decades," said Professor David Birdsell, the dean of Baruch College’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs.
"I’m not at all surprised that this has come to the top of the list for people."
But defunding the police department isn’t the best — or at least the most popular — way of going about police reform, the poll found.
Some 50.4% of respondents disapprove of the City Council’s step in 2020 to strip $1 billion in funding from the coppers’ coffers, 37.7% of them strongly so.
The 42.6% who approved the move are also less confident of the move, with 24.5% saying they "strongly" support the defund effort and 18.1% saying they only "somewhat" back it.
Along racial lines, white respondents were more likely to support the move than black respondents, 44% to 40.5%.
That could spell trouble for far-left candidate Maya Wiley, who has made defunding the police a key component of her platform, said Birdsell.
"This creates a major headwind for progressive candidates, and the one this matters most to is Maya Wiley," said the academic, who was not involved in the poll. "People are frightened by the idea of withdrawing support from an institution that they believe keeps them safe."
A small majority of respondents — 54.9% — approve of the state law limiting the need for cash bail for accused violent offenders, with 33.9% disapproving.
But 68.6% of respondents support giving judges greater discretion to set bail for serial offenders, who often go free only to strike again and again.
Respondents were nearly evenly split on the future of Rikers Island, with 41.8% supporting its closure in favor of smaller jails spread across the city, 40% wanting it to remain open and 18.2% undecided.
Respondents also weighed in on issues beyond criminal justice, such as New York’s status as a sanctuary city protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation, approved of by an overwhelming 77.5% of those quizzed.
And, in a vote of confidence for New York City, 75% of those polled say they see themselves still living in the city five years from now. Only 17% thought they would leave.