Poll: GOP Has Few Fans In NYC

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New Yorkers are not looking forward to hosting the Republican National Convention next week: more than half say the Republicans should have gone somewhere else. Many worry about the possibility of a terrorist attack during the convention, or of possible violence from demonstrations and protest marches.

In fact, more than one in ten says they will simply get out of town.

SHOULD THE REPUBLICANS HAVE COME TO NEW YORK?

41% of New Yorkers say it was a good idea for the Republicans to hold their convention in New York City, but 52% say they should have gone someplace else. Two-thirds of self-identified Republicans say it was a good idea to have the Republicans come here, but they are a minority within the city.

THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION IN NYC

New Yorkers
Good idea
41%
Should have gone elsewhere
52%


RNC delegates
Good idea
86%
Should have gone elsewhere
9%

The Republican delegates to the convention, on the other hand, say they are happy to come to New York. 86% of Republican delegates interviewed by CBS News and The New York Times say it was a good idea to come here. The delegates also expected that New Yorkers would be more welcoming than they appear to be: by a margin of 50% to 18%, RNC delegates believed that most New Yorkers would think coming to the city was a good idea.

Despite having had two Republican Mayors in a row, New York City tends to be inhospitable to national Republican candidates. And it continues to be: President George W. Bush gets only a 24% approval rating from New Yorkers in this poll.

The Convention will take place in Manhattan, and Manhattan residents are especially distressed about the prospect of the Convention on their island. 60% of them think the Republicans should have gone elsewhere.

New Yorkers express some cynicism about the reasons the Republican party chose New York for its convention. 17% volunteer that they did so to capitalize on the September 11th attacks.

FEARS OF TERRORISM AND PROTEST VIOLENCE

The prospect of a possible terrorist attack in New York City during the convention is one of the reasons that New Yorkers may not be happy that the Republicans are coming. More than half say they are worried about a possible terrorist attack during the convention, with one in five saying they are very worried about it.

WORRIED ABOUT TERRORIST ATTACK DURING CONVENTION

Very worried
20%
Somewhat worried
33%
Not worried
46%

But there isn't just worry about a terrorist attack; there is also worry about other kinds of violence. Half say they are worried that some protest marches or demonstrations will lead to violence.

Over a third of New Yorkers say that the New York City police will have to use so much manpower during the convention that the rest of the city will be left unsafe. That sentiment is even more noticeable among African American New Yorkers –half of them think protecting the Republican visitors will leave the rest of the city unsafe.

WHAT WILL NEW YORKERS DO? PROTEST? GET OUT OF TOWN?

7% of adult New Yorkers (and even more of young adult New Yorkers) say they plan to participate in a public protest or demonstration during the convention. If correct, that would mean about 400,000 homegrown protesters.

But about twice as many say they will take a different route, and just leave the city when the Republicans come to town. 13% expect to be out of town during convention week.

Fear of terrorism may be having some impact on whether New Yorkers stay in town or leave next week: those who say they are very worried about a possible attack during the convention are the most likely to say they'll be leaving town – just under one in five are – whereas almost all the New Yorkers who are not at all worried are staying put.

THE CITY'S IMAGE

More than three in four New Yorkers feel good about New York -- 79% say they personally have a good image of the city, and just 16% have a bad one. That's lower than the all-time high positive feeling that New Yorkers felt for their city as they rallied after the 9/11 attacks, but it is much higher than the number who felt good about the City in 1991.

Men are a bit more likely to hold a positive view of the city than women: 84% of men and 75% of women have favorable views. People with higher incomes are more likely to hold positive views than people with lower incomes. And although they find themselves outnumbered, New York's Republicans hold an even more favorable view of the city than Democrats do: 91% of Republicans are positive, while 80% of Democrats are.

Among all Americans, the increased positive feelings towards New York engendered by the 9/11 attacks remain pretty much intact. In a national CBS News Poll conducted this month, 78% of Americans say they have a good image of New York, not much different from the 84% recorded in 2001. Five years before the attacks, less than half were positive.

AMERICANS' IMAGE OF NEW YORK CITY

Now
Good
78%
Bad
13%

9/01
Good
94%
Bad
10%

7/96
Good
43%
Bad
43%

Many New Yorkers aren't convinced that most of the country has such favorable views about the city. More than a third believes most Americans don't have a good image of the city.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.


This poll was conducted among a citywide random sample of 1096 adults, interviewed by telephone August 20-25, 2004. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus 3 percentage points for results based on the entire sample.

  • Joel Roberts

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