Press Release: Capalino Releases New Poll About NYC Mayoral Election and Optimism for New York’s Future


New Poll Results: Voters Lean Toward Moderates with Adams Increasing his Lead, New Yorkers are Overwhelmingly Positive About NYC’s Future, Restaurants are Key to Economic Recovery

New York, June 17, 2021- With New York City just starting to reemerge from the pandemic, voters will be casting their ballots in the Democratic primary for Mayor on June 22, with early voting having started on June 12. With over 70% of local offices up for grabs, new leadership will take office in New York City in 2022, rapidly changing the political landscape. Capalino, the leading urban strategy firm, released a new poll of NYC Democratic voters, which found that more than a quarter of voters support Eric Adams, and believe that housing, economic recovery and jobs are key issues that need to be prioritized by the next Mayor.

Balloting Results

Conducted for Capalino as part of its ongoing research into New York’s recovery, the poll by the Honan Strategy Group found that Eric Adams, the Brooklyn Borough President and former police officer, is taking a more robust lead in the race for Mayor with 28% of the vote, followed by Andrew Yang with 19%. In the next tier of candidates, Kathryn Garcia picked up ground with 13%, followed by Shaun Donovan with 9%, Maya Wiley with 7% and Scott Stringer with 6%. Sixteen percent of voters haven’t settled on a choice yet.

With approximately one week to go before the Democratic primary, progressives seem to have coalesced around Maya Wiley, former counsel to Mayor de Blasio. Many expected that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s recent endorsement of Maya Wiley, a progressive activist and former chair of the Civilian Complaint Review Board which conducts oversight of the New York Police Department, might lead to a polling bounce. We conducted additional polling to determine the impact of AOC’s endorsement and the new polling showed a minimal impact on the mayoral race: Wiley got a slight bump from AOC’s endorsement, rising from 7% up to 11% of voter support, which only tied her for third place with Garcia.

Capalino/Honan also conducted a simulated Ranked Choice Voting simulation to determine likely primary winners. The rankings are as follows:

Note: Once polling questions went beyond the second choice vote question, most voters could not name a third, fourth or fifth choice.

Capalino CEO, James Capalino stated, “With new leadership taking office across New York City, we look forward to assisting clients in navigating the political landscape, leveraging Capalino’s expertise in both political strategy and business and non-profit strategy to drive growth for our clients.  It’s clear that New Yorkers are optimistic about New York’s future and businesses and institutions look forward to working with the incoming Administration.”

Top Priorities for New Yorkers

While violent crime has increased in the city, and political and media outlets have called it a key factor in Adams’ lead, Capalino’s polling proved otherwise. While crime was an issue for New Yorkers, primary voters indicated that the most pressing priorities for NYC government are housing/affordable housing (19%), the economy and creating jobs (15%), and education and schools (12%), followed by crime/safe streets and safe neighborhoods (11%) and police reform (8%).

Bradley Honan, CEO of the Honan Strategy Group who conducted the polling noted, “These findings are a myth buster. While crime continues to be an important issue, it is not the singular or even dominant factor driving voting preferences. Instead, housing and economic recovery are most important for New Yorkers who also indicate a preference for moderate candidates.”

Optimism for the Future of New York

While the pandemic took a huge toll on New York City, with vaccines now available, migration to New York is growing faster than pre-pandemic levels according to location-data firm Unacast.

Key results from the new Capalino poll conducted by Honan Strategy Group confirm that New Yorkers are overwhelmingly optimistic about New York’s future. In what amounts to a landslide, 92% of voters agree that NYC was very hard hit by the pandemic, but knew the City would recover, and more than nine in ten are optimistic both about NYC’s recovery from Covid-19 and New York City’s future. 81% of New Yorkers say they would rather live in New York City than anywhere else.  This is despite the challenges of the pandemic and media attention highlighting those leaving NYC in the early months of the pandemic.

Among voters, 72% feel that NYC’s best days are ahead. People in huge numbers are eager to get back to their pre-Covid 19 lives. Many (73%) believe that with New York City set to receive billions of dollars in federal aid to rebuild the City after Covid-19, NYC will be rebuilt better and stronger than before.

An overwhelming 82% of New York City voters believe that New Yorkers should eat out at restaurants to help the restaurant industry which was crushed by the pandemic, and which puts money back into the hands of working people. Even more people (89%) felt that bringing New Yorkers and tourists back to eat at restaurants across all five boroughs is critical to NYC’s recovery. Importantly, 90% of voters believe that restaurants and nightlife need to be at the core of NYC’s recovery, not just as the economic foundation, but also because this is part of the DNA of New York City’s cultural life.

Capalino noted, “We are glad to learn that New Yorkers voice overwhelming support for New York’s future. At Capalino, we launched a webinar series called ‘The Future of New York’ featuring thought leaders addressing critical challenges and solutions to drive New York’s economic recovery and spearhead inclusive growth and these polling results align with both the optimism of our speakers and the confidence that with effective governmental leadership in 2022, we can come back quickly and justly.”


Polling Methodology: Study conducted by Honan Strategy Group. The sample of 950 likely Democratic Primary Voters interviewed has a margin of sampling error of =/- 3.17% overall and larger for subgroups. Interviewing was done via both landlines and cell phones. The polling took place May 26 to June 1 and June 9 and 10 (additional polling was done after AOC’s endorsement of Maya Wiley.)

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About Capalino

Capalino is the leading urban strategy firm in New York. We are experts in cities, combining knowledge in real estate, lobbying, strategic planning, market research and financing provided by our team of experienced implementation professionals. We have utilized this methodology to help some of the most respected companies and organizations in the world achieve sustainable success. We get it done.

About The Future of New York Program Series

The Future of New York is a webinar series focusing on major issues facing New York City businesses and organizations. Featuring thought leaders across the public and private sectors, Capalino, New York’s leading urban strategy firm, addresses critical challenges and solutions to drive New York’s economic recovery and spearhead inclusive growth.

To learn more about The Future of New York Program Series and to register for programs click here.

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