A majority of New York City voters approve of the NYPD’s job performance and how it deals with Muslims, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.
New Yorkers approve 63 percent to 31 percent of the way the NYPD is doing its job. They approve 58 percent to 29 percent of how the NYPD treats Muslims. And 82 percent of New Yorkers say the NYPD has been effective combating terrorism in the city.
But news junkies might notice something missing from the questions: a mention of the Associated Press’ extensive series on the NYPD’s spying on Muslims, uncovering the practice in the first place. The reports show that police — along with the CIA — moved covertly in Muslim communities and even spied on mosques in New Jersey and on Long Island. New Jersey officials have criticized the surveillance, and the Justice Department is reviewing complaints about the NYPD spying. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defends the constitutionality of the police force’s actions.
Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said the questions are appropriate. “I think just asking flat out about what (the NYPD is) doing is a better question,” Carroll told TPM. The public doesn’t always view the media favorably, he said, which could skew the responses. Detailing the AP’s reports in the questions might have brought the numbers down slightly, Carroll said.
“New Yorkers brush aside the gripes about police surveillance of the Muslim community,” Carroll said in the poll’s release. “Voter approval of the way police are handling terrorism is through the roof and overall approval for police in general and for Commissioner Ray Kelly is undented by criticism.”
Here is one of the poll’s questions:
“TREND: Do you think the New York City Police Department has unfairly targeted Muslims to combat terrorism or has acted appropriately?”
While New Yorkers view the NYPD’s efforts favorably, 54 percent of respondents also view Islam favorably. Sixty-five percent of respondents consider “mainstream Islam” a peaceful religion.
Read the poll’s full results here.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com