June 17, 1999 - New York Is Safer, But Police Brutality Is A Problem, Voters Tell Quinnipiac College Poll; Mayor's Approval Inches Back Up
New York City is a safer place to live than it was five years ago, according to 59 percent of city voters, but 84 percent of voters say police brutality is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today. A total of 14 percent of New Yorkers say police brutality is "not very serious" or "not a problem at all."

By a 68 - 26 percent margin, New Yorkers approve of the way police in their community are doing their job. White voters approve 84 - 11 percent, while black voters approve 47 - 45 percent, a tie, and Hispanic voters approve 55 - 43 percent.

While Mayor Rudolph Giuliani gets a 62 - 33 percent approval for the way he is handling crime, consistent with previous Quinnipiac College Polls, Police Commissioner Howard Safir's approval rating is a negative 37 - 49 percent. White voters approve of Safir 50 - 38 percent, while black voters give him a negative 19 - 67 percent approval and Hispanic voters give him a negative 27 - 55 percent approval.

"New Yorkers approve of the job the cops in their community are doing and approve of the way their Mayor is handling crime, but they turn thumbs down on Police Commissioner Safir," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"The issue of police brutality and the difference in attitudes about police by black and white voters are troubling, to say the least."

On the issue of police brutality, 25 percent of white voters, 81 percent of black voters and 59 percent of Hispanic voters say it is a "very serious" problem.

Looking at police in their own neighborhood, 42 percent of New Yorkers say police are tougher on blacks than on whites, while 44 percent say they treat everyone the same; 29 percent of white voters, 63 percent of black voters and 50 percent of Hispanic voters say police are tougher on blacks.

Sixteen percent of white voters say they worry about becoming a victim of police brutality, a concern held by 62 percent of black voters and 57 percent of Hispanic voters.
Mayor's Approval


New York City voters give Mayor Giuliani an overall 46 - 48 percent approval rating, a statistical tie. White voters approve of the Mayor 66 - 29 percent, while black voters have a negative 18 - 75 percent approval and Hispanic voters have a negative 36 - 60 percent approval.

The Mayor's approval rating in a May 19 Quinnipiac College Poll was 44 - 48 percent. His lowest rating was a negative 40 - 51 percent in an April 8 Quinnipiac College Poll.

By a 36 - 40 percent margin, voters have a favorable opinion of the Mayor, with 22 percent mixed.

Of those who say New York City has become safer in the last five years, 93 percent say Giuliani deserves some or all of the credit. At the same time, 45 percent say administration policies have led to an increase in police brutality in the city, an opinion held by 28 percent of white voters, 70 percent of black voters and 51 percent of Hispanic voters.

"Coping with crime continues to be Mayor Giuliani's strong suit, but along with that, he is blamed, especially by black voters, for police brutality," Carroll said.

From June 8 - 14, Quinnipiac College surveyed 1,019 New York City residents who say they are registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Rudolph Giuliani is handling his job as Mayor?
                                                          May 19
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Approve 46% 66% 18% 36% 44%

Disapprove 48 29 75 60 48

DK/NA 6 5 7 5 8



3. Is your opinion of Police Commissioner Howard Safir favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Favorable 22% 31% 9% 16% 24%

Unfavorable 38 25 57 42 36

Mixed 26 32 19 20 24

Hvn't hrd engh 13 11 15 21 15

REFUSED(VOL) 1 1 - 1 2



4. Is your opinion of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani favorable, unfavorable, mixed, or haven't you heard enough about him?

                                                          May 19
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Favorable 36% 52% 13% 25% 35%

Unfavorable 40 24 64 40 32

Mixed 22 21 21 26 29

Hvn't hrd engh 2 2 1 8 2

REFUSED(VOL) 1 1 1 - 1



6. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Mayor Giuliani is handling crime?

                                                         May 19
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His    1999


Approve 62% 78% 37% 61% 66%

Disapprove 33 17 58 32 30

DK/NA 6 5 5 7 5



10. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Howard Safir is handling his job as Police Commissioner?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Approve 37% 50% 19% 27% 38%

Disapprove 49 38 67 55 48

DK/NA 13 12 14 18 14



11. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the New York City police are doing their job?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Approve 49% 71% 20% 38% 45%

Disapprove 43 23 71 56 44

DK/NA 8 6 9 6 11



12. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the police in your community are doing their job?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Approve 68% 84% 47% 55% 66%

Disapprove 26 11 45 43 27

DK/NA 5 5 8 2 8



13. Do you generally think of the police more as friends, more as enemies, or don't you think of them in either of these ways?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Friends 37% 50% 19% 32% 33%

Enemies 11 5 24 8 10

Neither 50 44 54 60 53

DK/NA 2 2 3 - 4



14. Do you think New York City is a very safe place to live, somewhat safe,somewhat unsafe, or very unsafe?
                                                          Oct 30
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1997


Very safe 18% 23% 9% 13% 10%

Somewhat safe 60 65 58 55 60

Somewhat unsafe 17 9 24 25 22

Very unsafe 5 2 9 6 7

DK/NA 1 1 - 1 1



15. Compared to 5 years ago, do you feel that New York City has become a safer place to live, a less safe place to live, or stayed about the same? * Question wording was "Compared to 4 years ago, do you feel that New York City has become a safer place to live, a less safe place to live, or stayed about the same?"

                                                          Oct 30*
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1997


Become safer 59% 76% 36% 52% 54%

Less safe 9 5 16 13 10

Stayed the same 30 18 47 34 36

DK/NA 1 1 - 1 1



16. How much of this change is due to the policies of Rudolph Giuliani,- most of it, some, or none?

                          More     Less
                          safe     safe


Most 52% 46%

Some 41 35

None 6 16

DK/NA 2 3



17. Do you think the police in New York City are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                                                         Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His    1999


Tougher on whites 1% 1% - 4% 1%

Tougher on blacks 68 57 87 70 71

Treat them the same 24 33 9 22 20

DK/NA 7 10 4 5 9



18. Do you think the police in your community are generally tougher on whites than on blacks, or tougher on blacks than on whites, or do the police treat them both the same?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Tougher on whites 2% 2% - 2% 1%

Tougher on blacks 42 29 63 50 46

Treat them the same 44 54 27 40 38

DK/NA 12 15 10 7 15



19. How serious a problem do you think police brutality is in New York City? A very serious problem, somewhat serious, not very serious, or not a problem at all?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Very serious 47% 25% 81% 59% 46%

Somewhat serious 37 51 16 32 36

Not very serious 11 19 1 6 12

Not a problem at all 3 4 1 2 3

DK/NA 1 2 1 1 3



20. Is being the victim of police brutality something you personally worry about or not?
                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Yes 37% 16% 62% 57% 32%

No 62 84 38 43 67

DK/NA - - - - 1



21. How have the policies of the Giuliani administration affected the amount of police brutality in New York City? Have they caused police brutality to increase, decrease or haven't the policies of the Giuliani administration made much difference in the amount of police brutality?

                                                          Apr 8
                          Tot     Wht     Blk     His     1999


Increase 45% 28% 70% 51% 48%

Decrease 6 8 3 6 7

No difference 41 52 22 35 36

DK/NA 9 12 5 8 9