That being said, it’s an exercise that will force you into a series of rabbit holes related to ideology, race, gender, and all sorts of other factors that unfortunately are not well surveyed.
I’ll reveal the basics, where I’ve got it, and answer some of the biggest questions that remain unanswered. As far as I can tell, there are basically three tracks that the voices end on and probably don’t shift among each other.
There is the Andrew Yang Lane, the “Experience” track, and the Progressive Lane.
Andrew Yang has asked anywhere between 16% and 32% in the three main surveys carried out so far. Wherever he actually is, I think two things are likely to be true:
1) Yang devotees seem to ride or die – unimpressed by his lack of experience, flip-flops, gaffes, and seemingly bizarre attitudes like against fast bus routes. I mean, is it really worth visiting the constituency for people driving on 14th Street? They love the idea of an out-of-the-box pick that promises to turn NYC into a crypto utopia.
2) At 85-90% name recognition, it probably waned early. Anyone who is promoting a campaign will tell you that those who are for them are for them and those who don’t list them first have a visceral reaction to the idea. Around 60-70% of voters both know who he is and have already decided not to choose him, which is the high water mark for that number among all candidates.
Hopefully we’ll get a more consistent survey to find out exactly where he is, but he’s a bucket of his own no matter what number he’s really at.
The “Experience” lane is jammed with people mainly telling you what they did and what positions they held – how their résumé makes them a good candidate for running the city. These include Brooklyn District President Eric Adams, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Wall Street executive Ray McGuire, former Obama cabinet member Shaun Donovan, and Campaign Finance board member Art Chang. You could possibly also refer to this group as the “moderate” group, but I think that this more or less simplifies the ideological spectrum of the race to a subject or rather a slogan.
Some voters are making police “defunding” a litmus test of progressive policy when all candidates have called for serious changes to the way the NYPD operates to keep the city safe. Realistically, the NYPD’s budget will almost certainly shrink for the next year, regardless of who mayor, simply because the city is tight. Wouldn’t it be considered “defunding” if an operation like Kathryn Garcia, who has already spoken about protest tactics and kettling, can slash the NYPD’s budget by saving costly overtime? Does it count as actual police reform if Maya Wiley successfully downsizes the armed forces on budget but does nothing to influence the culture of the remaining officers?
In any event, there seems to be a large proportion of voters trying to figure out who to land on, among those whose proposals actually require research. What I agree Did Shaun Donovan Help “Rebuild NYC After September 11th”? (I don’t remember he was there then, do I?) Is Ray McGuire’s economic plan really groundbreaking, or is a slick, poor kid turned banker bogus thing not quite the Springfield monorail we all want to jump on? And what exactly does a borough president do? And did Eric Adams really say that we need more good people with guns like off duty cops hidden in church to keep us safe?
It gets interesting in the subplots here.
Andrew Yang has praised Kathryn Garcia’s experience several times throughout the race. It seems obvious he wants her to be part of his administration if he wins. Those kind words could get her some attention and the second largest choice that others, especially Eric Adams, are unlikely to get. In fact, Adams can be so polarizing and negative that he may injure himself if he gets secondary slots. Otherwise an experienced, politically moderate black candidate who was both abused by the police and Having been a police officer yourself could be the figurehead for a large tent. If anything, his numbers are lower than you’d imagine from his résumé – and I assumed it was his sometimes erratic public comments that could hurt him in a ranked voting situation.
Is it also likely that Kathryn Garcia is a one-way voice picker? Would female progressives put them on the vote to keep numbers like Adams, McGuire, and Yang out? Would Shaun Donovan’s voters be happy to have them, but KG fans shy away from his circumvention of campaign finance laws by getting a multi-million dollar PAC sponsored by his father?
What about Art Chang? As a result of anti-Asian violence and this community’s growing frustration with Andrew Yang – who seems to believe the answer is more police when immigrant communities are often the target of police harassment – does he have a chance at moving the needle as an alternative? He certainly has more NYC-specific experience than Yang.
While it can take several weeks, this group will likely leave most of the 50% undecided number we saw in the last poll – assuming the last group, Progressives, is usually the most informed and theoretically the most knowledgeable earliest decision.
Progressives choose between Maya Wiley, Dianne Moreles and Scott Stringer. After everything we saw in NYC last summer, is it likely that a true progressive would pick a straight white man over two women of color? My guess here is that Stringer’s experience in government, otherwise known as “electability,” is what he has for him – but should either Wiley or Morele show verve and viability, his supporters might be ready to get on board. Race and gender play a super interesting role on this side of the race. Do some progressives feel that NYC is likely to choose not just a woman but a woman of color as well, and so Stringer feels like the “safer” choice to get on board with or hurts his race and gender actually when it does comes to this base?
I’m not entirely sure about this – but ideologically they’re all pretty close.
Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that Anthony Weiner was still leading the race this time around in 2013, with Bill de Blasio finishing 4th or 5th at best.
This week, visit The Schlep to City Hall for the latest on the race.