New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he was running for president on May 16. He must have done some focus-group testing to show that he had a chance at the Democratic nomination, but people in his own state — in the city where he is mayor, even — don’t seem to think he would be a good president.
Shortly after he announced, MSNBC posted a video of New York City residents bashing their mayor. Now comes New York Magazine’s Eve Peyser, who tried to find someone, anyone, who supported him for president.
Peyser started by casting a wide net. She posted on Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter asking for anyone who supported de Blasio for president. As she wrote, this was an “admittedly lazy journalistic practice,” but had yielded results in the past, including someone who tattooed Chelsea Clinton’s face on his body (yes, Chelsea).
Peyser wrote that she received just one response, from a man in Prospect Heights who said he was “neither for nor against Mayor de Blasio’s run.”
Peyser then asked her own mother, a diehard liberal who had voted for de Blasio for mayor. This woman no longer supported the mayor after seeing him speak each week on WNYC’s “The Brian Lehrer Show.”
“Whenever he’s challenged, he responds with indignation and an underlying hostility that seems designed to intimidate the person asking him,” Peyser’s mother told her. “He’s a bully.”
None of her mother’s friends supported the mayor for president either.
Peyser decided to see if the people at the gym where de Blasio works out would support him. Again, she came up empty. One man said de Blasio was “the worst mayor we’ve ever had.” A few others said they like him as a mayor and didn’t want him to give up his term to be president — or didn’t think he’d be a good president.
Peyser’s last-ditch effort was to contact the mayor’s presidential campaign and ask for names of supporters. The campaign provided two (obviously, that doesn’t mean those are the only two people the campaign knows who support de Blasio).
Farah Despeignes, one of the two names provided by the campaign, told Peyser she supported de Blasio because of his willingness to discuss “taboo” subjects, such as his “commitment to challenge the educational system.”
The other name provided was Alain Berrouet, who works for the NYC Department of Education and was featured in the mayor’s campaign video. He supported the mayor because de Blasio took the time to talk to him about his policies after a campaign event. Despeignes, like Berrouet, also said she supported de Blasio because he took the time to talk to her and was willing to listen.
As Peyser concluded, “Two down, Mr. Mayor. Only tens of millions more to go. You have a lot of chatting-up to do.”
De Blasio is currently polling at an average 0.5%, according to the Real Clear Politics polling average. A Quinnipiac University poll released on May 21 showed de Blasio has the worst favorability rating of any of the other Democratic candidates, with just 8% seeing him favorably and 45% saying they had an unfavorable view of him.