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Most voters approve of how NYC mayor, police are dealing with protesters, poll finds

Protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday,

Protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, after Wednesday's decision by a grand jury not to indict NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner when police tried to arrest him on July 17, 2014, in Staten Island. Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

A majority of voters approve of how Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD are handling protesters in the wake of the Dec. 3 grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in Eric Garner's death, a Quinnipiac University poll showed Wednesday.

New York City voters approve by a 2-to-1 ratio of de Blasio's approach, and 73 percent applaud the police's reaction to the tens of thousands of demonstrators who have taken to city streets in the past two weeks, according to the poll. De Blasio has commended NYPD officers for the restraint they've shown during nightly demonstrations.

Though a majority -- 57 percent -- say protesters should get off the streets, most -- 67 percent -- also disapprove of the grand jury's decision not to bring charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo for placing Garner, 43, in an apparent chokehold in July in Staten Island.

"They don't agree with the grand jury, but they also don't agree with the tactics" being used by the protesters, Quinnipiac assistant poll director Maurice Carroll said. "They don't think they should tie up traffic."

Quinnipiac surveyed 1,374 city voters via landline and cellphone between Dec. 10 and Tuesday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

A separate poll released Friday by the Siena Research Institute found 65 percent of New York City adults disagreed with the grand jury's decision.

De Blasio at an unrelated event at Rikers Island Wednesday said it is a "painful time for our city. . . . It's not surprising that people in this moment would be pessimistic."

He also relayed a message to protesters: "Respect the police, listen to their instructions, work with them."

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