Just a few years ago, a majority of New Yorkers liked Mayor Michael Bloomberg so much that they thought he would make a good President. Now, not so much. Only 18 percent think the Mayor would be a good President, according to the latest Quinnipiac University Poll. Adding insult to injury only 38 percent believe the Mayor when he says he is not interested in running for President.
Mayor Bloomberg’s job approval rating from 2006 thru 2008 was almost always above 70%, which fueled the “Bloomberg for President” talk. In 2009 it dropped a bit to the mid 60’s. After Bloomberg won reelection to a third term, the Mayor’s job approval number continued to erode and by November, 2010, it was at 55 percent. In our first survey of 2011, the Bloomberg’s approval rating plunged to only 39 percent, the lowest he’s been since 2003.
So what happened? What caused the Mayor to lose favor with the voters?
All politicians have seen their ratings drop because of tough economy and the ensuing tough budget decisions that they’ve had to make. Raising taxes or cutting services always make voters unhappy.
Bloomberg is now in his third term and many voters may simply tire of elected officials when there is a sense that they’ve been around too long. Voters may be suffering from “Bloomberg fatigue”. Lest we forget, the Mayor was supposed to be term limited and unable to run for a third term. That is until he successfully changed the popular term limit law so that he could run for a third term.
It certainly didn’t help that his Administration mishandled the 2010 Christmas blizzard. When politicians handle snowstorms well it typically doesn’t help them politically, but when they don’t it sure can hurt them.
It doesn’t appear that New Yorkers have forgiven him for his handling of the Christmas blizzard. Even when looking at the Bloomberg administration’s overall handling of all of this winter’s snowstorms, only 28 percent thought they did a “good” or “excellent” job.
And last but not least, Mayor Bloomberg made the highly unpopular choice of Cathleen Black to be the new Schools Chancellor in November. The Mayor was heavily criticized for selecting somebody without education experience, but he didn’t back down.
In the current survey, only 17 percent approve of the way the new Schools Chancellor is handling her job. While Black’s predecessor, Joel Klein, never enjoyed great job approval numbers, they never dropped below 30 percent.
The public’s displeasure with the Black selection also was made clear in Bloomberg’s rating for his handling of the public schools. Before the pick, he had received good marks – a 57% approval. After the Black selection, Bloomberg dropped 16 points to a 41 percent approval in November 2010. In the current survey, Bloomberg’s approval rating for his handling of the public schools has plummeted to an all time low 25 percent.
The irony is that the Mayor wanted to be remembered as the “education Mayor,” like Giuliani is remembered as the “crime mayor.” That was going to be his legacy. Yet the schools may be the issue which has cost him the most politically.
Perhaps it also will be responsible for ending the “Bloomberg for President” talk.