Mayor Michael Bloomberg's approval ratings have fallen below 50 percent for the first time in five years, and 53 percent of New York City voters oppose the planned mosque two blocks from ground zero, according to a Marist Poll report released today.
Of the total respondents, 13 percent rated him as "excellent," and 36 responded "good."
Thirty-three percent said the mayor was doing a "fair" job, 16 percent responded 'poor' and 2 percent are unsure. That means that forty-nine percent of polled New Yorkers approve of Bloomberg, down from 56 percent in April.
Bloomberg's approval ratings have decreased most among Democrats and independents, results show. Forty-seven percent of Democrats in this poll rated Bloomberg as "excellent" or "good," compared to 56 percent last April. Similarly, only 48 percent of independent voters expressed approval of Bloomberg in this poll, also compared to 56 percent last April. Republicans' approval ratings of Bloomberg have remained consistent at 55 percent.
Additionally, the poll found that 53 percent of New Yorkers oppose construction of Park51, the planned Islamic community center and mosque to be built two blocks from Ground Zero. And evenly half of respondents say it "offends the memory of the 9/11 victims and their families."
But thirty-four percent of respondents do support the mosque, and the same number said it will "help people better understand the teachings of Islam and the Muslim religion." Thirteen percent had no opinion on its construction.
"The mosque is something that, clearly, New Yorkers are not in favor of, and Mayor Bloomberg is on the opposite side of public opinion on that issue," Marist Poll director Lee Miringoff told NBCNewYork. "But I think more than anything it's the economy that's making New Yorkers less than excited about Mayor Bloomberg's term in office."
Miringoff pointed out that "When we look at the numbers, the group that is most opposed to the mosque is the republicans and that's the group that's most in support of the mayor so there's not a strong connection. If anything, I think the drop has to do with the lingering effects of the sluggish economy."
The poll also found that 69 percent of New Yorkers think Bloomberg should not run for president in 2012, and 56 percent think that Bloomberg's long-time companion Diana Taylor should not run for mayor.
These findings are based on a survey of 696 New York City voters conducted via telephone from July 28th through August 5th. The margin for error is 4 percentage points.