Q Poll: Support for Cycling a Vote Winner for Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral candidates stand to gain votes if they support increased bicycling, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

The last question of the poll, which surveyed 1,082 NYC voters via land lines and cell phones the week of May 14-20, asked: “If a candidate for Mayor supports – encouraging increased use of bicycles, would you be more likely to vote for a candidate who held this position, less likely, or wouldn’t it make a difference?” About half said bike policy wouldn’t factor into their decision, 30 percent said they would be more likely to vote for a pro-bike candidate, and 20 percent said they would be less likely:

Several opinion polls conducted in 2011 and 2012 revealed that among all New Yorkers (not just voters), public support for bike lanes stands in the 55-65 percent range, and a 2011 poll of likely voters commissioned by Transportation Alternatives found similar levels of support. This Q Poll question is the first to frame the issue so explicitly in terms of how it will influence decisions in the voting booth.

Holding pro-bike positions is a net plus for candidates among voters of all income levels and ethnicities, and in every borough except Staten Island, though there is some variation. Men (35 percent) are more likely to favor a pro-bike candidate than women (25 percent). Hispanic voters (36 percent) are somewhat more likely to vote for a pro-bike candidate than the average voter, black voters are somewhat less likely (25 percent), and white voters sit in the middle (30 percent). Voters with household income above $100,000 are more likely than average to support a pro-biking candidate, while voters in the $50,000 to $100,000 range are less likely, and voters in the $50,000-and-under range align with the average.

One of the interesting things about the Q Poll results is the high percentage of voters who said bike policy wouldn’t influence their decision. While most coverage of bike lanes and bike-share is all about conflict and controversy, relatively few New Yorkers apparently feel strongly enough about bike policy to consider it when casting votes. Only a third of voters said the issue of creating an NYPD inspector general would not influence their decision, for instance, compared to half of voters who said the same about bicycling.

Still, a 10-point advantage for the pro-bike position is substantial. We probably won’t be hearing the winning candidate say anything about “ripping out the f—ing bike lanes,” no matter who’s in the race.

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