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Poll: New Yorkers split on whether city going in right direction under de Blasio

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at Baruch College in Manhattan on Feb. 3, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

New Yorkers are split on whether the city is headed in the right direction under Mayor Bill de Blasio, with 49 percent to 45 percent saying it is not, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist survey found a 44 percent job approval rating for de Blasio and 52 percent disapproval.

The April 29-May 3 survey of 532 registered voters has a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

Most voters, about 57 percent, told pollsters that they thought that the city's quality of life has gotten worse or stayed the same, while less than 1 in 5 saw improvement.

Like nearly every survey about de Blasio's mayoralty, the new poll found racial division. About 66 percent of blacks and 58 percent of Latinos said he should be re-elected, while 28 percent of whites thought so. Citywide, 47 percent to 42 percent said he deserves re-election.

De Blasio spokesman Wiley Norvell said, "Polls go up and polls go down. What remains constant is Mayor de Blasio's unflinching commitment to fighting income inequality and lifting up working people and families."

The poll showed support for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's efforts to decriminalize some petty crimes. A lighter penalty for public drinking was favored by 55 percent while 66 percent said bicycling on sidewalks should be a civil offense.

Separately Tuesday, the council released a letter from NYPD Commissioner William Bratton opposing the speaker's decriminalization proposals.

Persons who urinate in public, sidewalk bike riders and other lawbreakers could not be forced to identify themselves to police or summonses would have less or no impact if the behavior were merely a civil offense, Bratton wrote.

Several potential compromises have emerged from discussions between the council and NYPD, including a formal warning system and civil tickets for first-time offenders on some offenses while preserving the option of criminal charges for persistent violators, the letter said.

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