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Bloomberg Trails Cuomo, Christie and Obama on Sandy Response, Poll Finds

By Jill Colvin | November 20, 2012 1:22pm
 Mayor Michael Bloomberg updates the media about Hurricane Sandy at the Office of Emergency Management on Oct. 27, 2012.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg updates the media about Hurricane Sandy at the Office of Emergency Management on Oct. 27, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Paul Lomax

NEW YORK CITY — Maybe they didn't like his sweaters.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's response to Hurricane Sandy was overshadowed by his colleagues in government, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.

Asked which elected official did the best job handling the recovery from the hurricane, Bloomberg came in last with 12 percent of the vote — versus 15 percent for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, 22 percent for President Barack Obama and a whopping 36 percent for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Nonetheless, the poll found that the vast majority of New Yorkers — 75 percent — felt Bloomberg had done an "excellent" or "good" job responding to Hurricane Sandy.

“The storm-of-the-century brings out the best in Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Yorkers say. But that love fest between New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie and President Barack Obama seems to have moved voters especially,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Nearly 89 percent of city voters said that Christie's response was "excellent" or "good," versus 85 percent for Cuomo and 84 percent for Obama, who toured the damage on Staten Island last week.

Bloomberg’s handling of the storm was also enough to help boost his overall approval rating to 56 percent — his highest grade in more than two years, the poll found. (That wasn’t the case in Staten Island, where only 38 percent of those polled said he’s doing a good job.)

Bloomberg's ratings slumped two years ago following his widely panned handling of a post-Christmas blizzard.

When it came to the response from other agencies, 86 percent of those polled said first responders did an “excellent” or "good” job, and 75 percent praised the MTA for managing to pump all that water out of its subway tunnels.

The Red Cross fared worse, with just 66 percent of voters rating them as “excellent” or “good,” while the utility companies earned the lowest grades, with the majority (58 percent) declaring their performance “not so good” or "poor."

There were also concerns about favoritism, the poll found.

About half of residents said they believed that government and relief agencies had favored Manhattan over the outer boroughs while responding to the crisis. Manhattanites, by a slim 47 to 44 percent margin, disagreed.

“When power-less people in Queens and Brooklyn looked across the East River and saw most of Manhattan lighting up, they complained about a Manhattan-centric storm response,” Carroll said.

A vast majority of voters — 85 percent — also approved of the city’s odd-even gas rationing system, which will be in place through Friday. And most also believe the city, state and federal governments should spend billions of dollars to better protect the city from future storms.

The poll also gave a shout-out to superstar sign-language interpreter Lydia Callis, who emerged as a bright spot during the storm.

The interpreter, who became an overnight sensation for her emotive facial expressions and animated interpretations of the mayor at his many press conferences, is nearly as popular as her boss, the poll found.

The vast majority of New Yorkers who said they had an opinion of Calllis said they approved of the job she did interpreting Bloomberg during his frequent hurricane press conferences. Only 2 percent said they disapproved of her signing, though 43 percent said they had no opinion on the breakout star.

“Is it what she says," Carroll said, "or the way she says it?"

The poll of 1,165 city voters, conducted from Nov. 14-18, has a margin of error of plus or minus  2.9 percentage points.