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NYC 2021: Adams Poised to be Next Mayor of NYC, Leading Sliwa by 40 Points

The Emerson College/PIX11/NewsNation poll of the New York City mayoral race finds Democrat Eric Adams leading Republican Curtis Sliwa 61% to 25% among likely voters. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided. When the undecided voters are allocated towards the candidate they said they are leaning towards, Adams expands his lead to forty points, 70% to 30%.


Majorities of all age categories and racial groups are breaking towards Adams. Sliwa is leading in Staten Island, 61% to 28%, while Adams leads in all other boroughs. 

Regarding what issue should be the next Mayor’s first priority, a plurality (34%) of voters said crime. Other top priorities were homelessness (19%), jobs (11%), Covid-19 (8%), healthcare (8%), the environment (5%), schools (4%), and transportation (4%). Eight percent (8%) of voters said something else. A majority (58%) of Sliwa voters said crime should be the top priority, while Adams voters were split between crime (24%) and homelessness (23%). 

When asked how safe they feel riding the NYC subway system, a plurality (43%) of voters said they feel very or somewhat safe, while 34% feel not that safe or not safe at all. Twenty-four (24%) reported that they do not ride the NYC subway system. Twenty percent (20%) of females report feeling not at all safe compared to 10% of males.

Voters were asked if they think the city is headed in the right direction or the wrong direction: 57% say it is headed in the wrong direction, while 43% say it is headed in the right direction. 

The majority (61%) of voters disapprove of the job Bill DeBlasio is doing as Mayor, while 22% approve of the job he is doing as Mayor, and 16% are neutral or have no opinion. 

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul’s job approval is more split: 38% approve of the job she is doing as Governor, 26% disapprove of the job she is doing as governor, and 35% were neutral or had no opinion. 

The majority (54%) of New York City voters think, if a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children 5-11, there should be vaccine mandates in K-12 schools. Thirty-one percent (31%) think there should not be mandates and 16% were unsure or have no opinion. 

Regarding a permanent remote option for NYC public school education moving forward, voters are split. Thirty-nine percent (39%) would support a permanent remote option for schools, 39% would not, and 23% are unsure or have no opinion.

A majority (70%) of voters think the COVID-19 vaccine has been distributed fairly in New York City, while 15% think it has not and 15% were unsure. Additionally, 73% said they feel safer going to a restaurant if all staff are vaccinated, compared to 15% who said they do not feel safer, and 12% who are unsure or have no opinion. 

Voters are split on whether or not the city has an obligation to provide additional debt relief to taxi medallion owners; 32% say yes, 33% say no, and 35% are unsure or have no opinion.

A plurality (42%) of voters said that Rikers Island should not be closed and replaced with community jails, while 38% said it should, and 20% are unsure or have no opinion. 

Caller ID

The New York City Emerson College/PIX 11/NewsNation poll was conducted October 22-23, 2021. The sample consisted of New York City likely voters, n=615, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.9 percentage points. The data sets were weighted by gender, age, education, race, and region based on turnout modeling using L2. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity, and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected via a cellphone sample using SMS-to-web, a landline sample using IVR, and an online panel provided by Amazon MTurk.

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Key Takeaways
  • Crime ranking as top priority for voters
  • Early approval for Governor Hochul
  • Majority think City is headed in wrong direction
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