| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Jan 16 New Yorkers are overwhelmingly
optimistic about new mayor Bill de Blasio though most disagree
with his plan to ban horse-drawn carriages in Central Park, a
"New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is having a honeymoon,"
said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University poll
released on Thursday.
Two thirds of New York City voters expect good things from
de Blasio, who took over on Jan. 1 after the exit of three-term
mayor Michael Bloomberg, and just over half approve of the job
de Blasio has done so far.
But de Blasio's plan to do away with horse-and-buggy rides -
a beloved and time-honored tourist tradition that has also drawn
the ire of animal welfare groups - does not sit well with a
majority of New Yorkers. While de Blasio has described the ban
as a priority, six in 10 New York voters are against it.
De Blasio has long argued that hansom cab rides are
inhumane, while some see it as bowing to the city's animal
rights lobby, which launched a ferocious challenge to a mayoral
candidate who opposed the ban.
Nevertheless, it is expected to be included in a City
Council bill this month, with supporters saying they are
confident it will pass, while representatives of the carriage
industry are expecting the issue to end up in court.
Nearly seven in 10 New Yorkers back one of de Blasio's
signature proposals: increasing income tax on the city's top
earners to pay for pre-kindergarten and after-school programs.
The power to raise taxes lies with state lawmakers and
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who favors tax cuts, and the proposal
faces an uphill battle in Albany.
Opinions are divided over the role of de Blasio's wife,
Chirlane McCray, whom he describes as his most important
adviser. McCray was a frequent presence on the campaign trail
and the couple's bi-racial children were featured in TV ads.
About a quarter of voters say the city's first lady should
have a major role in shaping policy, while 36 percent believe
she should play only a minor role and 30 percent say she should
have no role.
The survey of 1,288 New York City voters was conducted from
Jan. 9 to Jan. 15, and has a margin of error of plus or minus
2.7 percentage points.
(Reporting By Edith Honan; editing by Gunna Dickson)