Dec. 5, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A new poll has found that Queens residents approve of Amazon building new headquarters in Long Island City—in stark contrast to the backlash and anti-Amazon rhetoric expressed by many borough officials and groups over the plan.
The Quinnipiac University Poll released today shows that Queens residents are not only for the tech giant locating its headquarters at Anable Basin, but approve of the billions in incentives it is set to receive from the city and state for the move.
The poll found that 60 percent of Queens voters approve of Amazon locating one of its new headquarters in Long Island City, compared to just 26 percent of voters who oppose the tech giant’s presence.
Queens voters, furthermore, support the $3 billion in state and city incentives Amazon is set to receive as part of its deal to locate to Queens, with 55 percent in approval compared to the 39 percent of voters that oppose the incentives package.
The poll also reveals Queens to be the borough most in support of the city and state’s incentive package to Amazon, followed by the Bronx.
On a citywide basis, the Quinnipiac Poll found that New Yorkers approve of Amazon coming to Queens by 57 percent to 26 percent. Voters as a whole, however, were split on the financial package offered in the deal, with 46 percent supporting the incentives while 44 percent opposed it.
Voters in Queens and citywide, meanwhile, say New York City should have more of a say in the review process of Amazon’s buildout.
The tech company’s project, which will be moving through a state-run process, has been criticized by the opposition for just that, with many believing that the selected process shuts the doors for review at the city and local level.
In Queens, 78 percent of voters said the city should be more involved in the process, with only 10 percent of voters electing “no” in this category. The percentage goes up to 79 percent on a citywide basis, compared to 13 percent in opposition.
The poll also asked voters if they had any concerns about Amazon’s headquarter plans, to which 54 percent of Queens resident said they did not—more than the 41 percent of voters who say they do. The citywide numbers were identical to the Queens findings in this category.
The concerns, in turn, mostly registered on the project’s impact on housing, with 31 percent of respondents choosing this category. The poll, however, had only outlined three concerns for voters to choose from, with the other two being the impacts on transportation and quality of life.
The polling center also asked if voters approved or disapproved of the way both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio handled the deal.
The results for both leaders were similar, with 35 percent of Queens voters approving Cuomo’s handling compared to 31 percent against. For de Blasio, 34 percent of voters in the borough approved, compared to 32 percent.
The poll, the first major survey to be conducted after Amazon announced its headquarter plans last month, shows a vastly different account of how residents in Queens feel about the project compared to the backlash seen in the form of rallies, petitions, newly-drafted legislation, planned oversight hearings and more from elected officials and groups.
A “No to Amazon HQ2 in Long Island City” rally, for instance, was held the day after the Nov. 13 headquarters announcement , where local politicians like Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Sen. Michael Gianaris vehemently denounced the company’s plans on multiple fronts.
The two electeds, who represent the area where Amazon will be built, have repeatedly rebuked the “bad deal” since, but seem split, like many officials, on the company coming to the area. Gianaris had said he’s for jobs and a better deal, while Van Bramer is fully opposed to the corporate giant in his district, regardless of a deal.
The two released a joint statement on the Quinnipiac Poll shortly after its release, where they did not specifically address the Queens statistics, but appeared to speak to the citywide split on the incentives package.
“New Yorkers are making clear they agree that too much inequality exists in our communities and giving billions of taxpayer dollars to trillion dollar corporations makes things worse, not better,” the statement reads. “It is also clear that the more people learn about the deal, the less they like it.”
Van Bramer, however, retweeted a statement released by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which he has partnered with recently in opposition to the Amazon project. The statement, this time, appears to address the poll’s findings in Queens.
“This Quinnipiac poll means nothing,” reads the statement from Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU. “The reality is that opposition to this terrible Amazon HQ2 deal for New York City continues to grow by leaps and bounds.”
Appelbaum added that Amazon is aware of the widespread opposition it faces and referred to an item reported only recently that the company had hired a new PR firm to help better market its project.
Make the Road NY, a non-profit that has come out against the Amazon project, also came out against the poll.
“This poll doesn’t come close to reflecting the reality in our communities, which stand united in opposition to the #HQ2Scam,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director. “Not a single community member with whom we’ve discussed the terms of this deal has said they support it.”
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4, where 1,075 registered voters in New York City were surveyed by way of telephone.