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Hands off My Chick-fil-A, New Yorkers Say

By Jill Colvin | August 15, 2012 12:38pm
Chick-fil-a meal has become controversial because of its owner's conservative views on family and gay marriage.
Chick-fil-a meal has become controversial because of its owner's conservative views on family and gay marriage.
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NEW YORK CITY — New Yorkers want local pols to keep their hands off Chick-fil-A sandwiches, regardless of the fast food chain's president’s anti-gay marriage stance, according to a poll out Wednesday.

Nearly three-quarters of those polled — 74 percent — believe a business owner's controversial or unpopular stance should not affect its ability to get permits to do business in the city, Quinnipiac University found.

And more than 80 percent said elected officials should not try to discourage people from patronizing such businesses — including the hugely popular chicken chain — the poll found.

“New Yorkers may disagree with what you say, but they defend your right to sell chicken,” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said.

Chick-fil-A has been ruffling feathers since its president Dan Cathy was quoted saying he supported the “biblical definition” of marriage as between a man and a woman and prayed for “God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we would have the audacity to try to redefine what marriage is all about.”

In response, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn launched an online campaign to boot the chain's only city location, on the NYU campus. She also called on the school's president, John Sexton, to sever ties with the chain because of its "discriminatory views" — though she later softened her stance.

Other officials, including Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston's Mayor Tom Menino also threatened to block the Southern chain’s chicken sandwiches from arriving in their cities.

But the poll also found that, while most disagreed with Quinn's stance against poultry, the speaker was still dominating the early race to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 39 percent of Democrats wanting her as their candidate for 2013.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and embattled Comptroller John Liu were in a close battle for second, with 9 to 10 percent of the vote. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer trailed behind, with 4 percent.

New Yorkers also revealed they were less likely to vote for an atheist or born-again Christian than a Muslim or a Mormon, the poll said.

The poll of 1,298 registered voters, conducted from Aug. 8 through 12, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.