MANHATTAN — Hurricane Irene may have battered our neighbors upstate, but it boosted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s poll numbers.
Nearly 55 percent of voters surveyed a week after the storm hit last month say they approve of the job that Bloomberg is doing as mayor, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll — a 10 point surge from late July and the mayor’s best approval rating since the disastrous Christmas blizzard.
"The critics cried 'overkill!' But most people agreed with the mayor, 'better safe than sorry,'" Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Maurice Carroll said in a statement.
The jump comes despite the storm of criticism that was unleashed against the mayor by fellow pols and the press for his failure to disclose the fact that former Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith’s sudden resignation in early August was prompted by a domestic violence arrest, not his handling of the blizzard. The news of the arrest came to light on Sept. 1, just as the Quinnipiac poll was being taken.
"This survey was conducted after Hurricane Irene and during the storm about Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith's arrest — but maybe that second storm is a tempest in a teapot," Carroll said.
According to the numbers, 90 percent of those polled agreed with the mayor’s decision to order mandatory evacuations in low-lying coastal areas, including Battery Park City.
Even neighborhoods under the evacuation order approved of Bloomberg’s call, 84 percent to 15 percent, the poll found.
The poll also found that a majority of voters — 60 percent — believe that efforts to rebuild Lower Manhattan are going "somewhat" or "very well," which is up from 40 percent in late August 2009.
Still, the poll showed that the majority were skeptical that new projects, like One World Trade Center and the World Trade Center Transit Hub will be completed on deadline.
“A lot of New Yorkers won't believe it until they see One World Trade Center and the Transit Hub up and running,” Carroll said.
The poll also found that 70 percent of respondents plan to visit the 9/11 Memorial, which opened to the public today. Three quarters plan to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum when it opens next year, but most maintain that admission should be free.
The poll of 1,282 registered voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent.