MANHATTAN — More New Yorkers approve of the Occupy Wall Street protests than the way Mayor Michael Bloomberg is handling his job, according to poll numbers out Wednesday.
The latest Quinnipiac poll found that 51 percent disapprove of the way the mayor handled the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who were booted from their encampment at Zuccotti Park in the early morning hours of Nov. 15.
And while more than half of those polled — 52 percent — said they approve of the way the protests have been conducted, just 49 percent approve of the way the mayor is handling his job.
"The Occupy Wall Street protesters outscored Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the eyes of New York City voters," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“The mayor gets a slightly negative grade for the way he handled the situation while the protesters get a slightly positive grade," he said.
A vast majority — 68 percent — also said they agree with the protesters' views and more than 80 percent said they support their right to protest, according to the poll.
But there were also significant differences depending on political party and race. While half of Republicans said they approve of the way the mayor handled the protests, just 40 percent of Democrats felt the same. Disapproval of the mayor was also higher among men than women, and black and Hispanic voters versus whites.
Voters were split on their opinion of how police handled the protests, with 50 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed. Another 44 percent said they approved of how police handled the media during the protests, while 41 percent opposed.
Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s performance was widely praised, with two thirds of those polled giving him a thumbs-up on the job.
The poll also found that, while the majority of New Yorkers polled liked the mayor as a person and approved of his policies, they felt that he had lost focus in his third term.
"New Yorkers like Mayor Mike personally and they sort of like his policies, but his job approval meanders far below those heady days late in his second term," Carroll said.
Voters also endorsed the controversial "Living Wage Bill" that would force developers who receive big city subsidies to pay their workers higher than the minimum wage.
The poll of 1,242 registered voters was conducted from Dec. 7 to Dec. 12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.