[UPDATE BELOW]: Mayor de Blasio appears to be moving forward with his campaign promise to kick the carriage horse industry out of the city, having reportedly briefed the City Council on legislation ending carriage horse drivers' renewal licenses earlier this month. The battle over carriage horses has been controversial, and de Blasio's action has been praised by animal rights groups like NYCLASS and slammed by the NY Post and Liam Neeson. And now, a new poll suggests that more and more New Yorkers are starting to side with Qui-Gon Jinn, with 67 percent of those surveyed declaring the mayor should drop his ban plans.
A Quinnipiac University poll surveyed 1,374 New Yorkers between December 10th and 16th, finding the whopping majority supported the carriage horse industry. Only 22 percent of those surveyed supported the ban, with 11 percent offering up no opinion on the question, "Do you think Mayor de Blasio should or should not ban horse drawn carriages from New York City?"
The ban's opposition is climbing, though it doesn't appear that New Yorkers have ever spoken out strongly against the carriage horse industry—a Quinnipiac poll from August found that 61 percent of 1,023 New Yorkers surveyed opposed a ban, with 25 percent in support. The poll notes that "[t]his is the highest level of support for the horses since the Quinnipiac University Poll began asking this question in January. Opposition to the ban is 59 percent or higher among every group reported."
Though New Yorkers seem decidedly anti-ban, the City Council appears to be fairly divided. The Daily News reported earlier this month that 13 Council members were in favor of the ban, with 11 in opposition.
De Blasio told the News this week that he's not backing down on the ban. "I never start from a position of, hey let’s compromise before we’ve even had a process. I believe I’m right," he told the tabloid. As it stands, the bill would phase out carriage horses by the spring of 2016.
Update 4:50 p.m.: NYCLASS Executive Director Allie Feldman provided us with the following statement:
"The restaurant and bar smoking ban was also unpopular at the time. People were up in hysterics, claiming that no one would ever socialize in public again. But 10 years later, it's considered one of the most successful public health initiatives in our city's history, while the bar and restaurant industry continues to thrive. When the carriage horses are off the streets, we'll look back at the absurdity of having animals pulling rickety 18th century carts in the middle of Manhattan traffic and say "What were people thinking?"