Since announcing his presidential campaign last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio has pulled out all the stops. He has ingested meat from a regional restaurant chain while smiling. He has hugged a farmer. He has acquired new denim, declared himself the CEO of New York City and unleashed a schoolyard nickname for his opponent that is a little bit confusing but also rhymes. As of tomorrow night, he will have made two trips to Iowa in the span of six days. These are the sort of presidential qualities that used to be enough.
But according to a new Quinnipiac University poll—the first conducted since the mayor entered the race—de Blasio has the very worst unfavorability ratings among 23 total candidates. The national survey of more than 1,000 voters across the political spectrum found just eight percent of them view his nascent campaign favorably, compared to 45 percent who said they did not.
That leaves a large chunk of people who don't know about de Blasio at all—a group that the two-term mayor believes will come around once they learn "what this campaign is about." Though considering his reception from Americans who are familiar with him, that lack of name recognition might also be one of his biggest strengths at this point.
Among Democrats who do have an opinion of de Blasio, the poll found that nearly three quarters of them feel negatively toward him. When voters were asked who they would be least happy to see as a candidate, de Blasio placed third (after Biden and Sanders, who have consistently led the race, and have thus generated more expected backlash.)
In fact, the animosity that de Blasio has managed to stoke this early, while generating almost no significant support to balance it out, is itself a kind of statistical accomplishment. As Phillip Bump explains at the Washington Post:
"It’s a pretty impressive feat that de Blasio’s pulled off here. No one picked him as their preferred nominee, but one out of every 12 respondents said affirmatively that they didn’t want him to win.
Why? Well, de Blasio is really unpopular among the Democratic candidates. Fourteen percent of Democrats view him favorably, and 35 percent view him unfavorably, a net favorability of minus-21. That’s substantially worse than any other Democratic candidate...
Overall, it gets worse. While most of the Democratic candidates have net-negative favorable ratings overall, excluding Biden and Buttigieg, no one comes close to de Blasio’s minus-37 net favorability...his unpopularity with Democrats means there’s not really anything to offset those negative opinions."
Moreover, the New York City mayor currently has a net favorability rating that is roughly twice as bad as Trump—a historically unpopular president currently facing the threat of impeachment and some 16 criminal investigations.
"We’re in an entirely different time," the mayor said on day one of his candidacy. "What we used to think of as ground rules of democratic process don’t exist anymore."
Indeed, being a sturdy white man who awakens one day with little more than a federal PAC and a dream of being the most powerful person in the world just doesn't command the respect that it once did. Perhaps America has lost its way.