Feb. 6, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez
A new poll commissioned by Amazon shows overwhelming support across New York City, especially among Queens residents, for the e-commerce giant’s headquarters in Long Island City—the second poll to show such results since the company’s controversial HQ2 announcement in November.
The poll, released on Tuesday by HarrisX, the market research firm, revealed that about seven out of 10 New Yorkers, or 69 percent, approve of the tech giant locating a new campus in Long Island City, with 19 percent disapproving. Of the 901 people polled, 12 percent either did not know enough about the item or did not have an opinion on it.
In Queens, where 225 residents were surveyed, the percentage of those in support jumps to 80 percent, with 16 percent opposed to the project. Four percent of pollers came under the “don’t know” category.
The survey, also shows that the majority of respondents think Amazon’s new headquarters will create good jobs, improve the city’s economy, raise tax revenues for vital projects, and help make New York City an east coast tech hub.
But hundreds of respondents also felt that the development of a new campus would have some downsides.
The cost of housing in the city would very likely or somewhat likely increase with Amazon’s new headquarters, according to 63 percent of New Yorkers surveyed. The same percentage of voters also believe it is very likely or somewhat likely that HQ2 would make public transit and transportation issues even worse.
More than half of the New Yorkers polled also believe the project “comes with too much of a tax giveaway.” While 20 percent of respondents were unfazed by the tax giveaway, 23 percent of those surveyed said “don’t know.”
Other findings reveal that 45 percent of those surveyed feel the city’s economy is headed in the wrong direction, while 40 percent feel it is still on the upswing.
The HarrisX poll surveyed registered voters in the city from Jan. 24-31, and administered the survey online and by telephone. Phone polls were conducted using live, professional interviewers in English and Spanish, the firm said, adding that the margin of error is 3.3 percentage points.
“The results of this poll are welcome news for both Amazon and New York City. Today, a plurality of New York City voters say that the city’s economy is headed in the wrong direction, and the HQ2 is seen as providing a boost to that economy, including by a majority of Queens’ residents,” said Dritan Nesho, CEO of HarrisX, in a statement. “Some concerns remain around rising housing prices and transportation, but overall the public sees Amazon HQ2 landing in Long Island City as a win for New York.”
The poll comes about two months after a Quinnipiac University poll also showed strong support around the city for the company’s Long Island City headquarters and the deal that brought it to the fore. It also revealed Queens to be the borough most in support of the HQ2 deal.
The Amazon-funded poll is also another step in the company’s campaign to rally public support for its 4-million-square foot campus at Anable Basin. Efforts include, so far, mailers sent out to New Yorkers highlighting the benefits of Amazon’s presence in the area in the form of 25,000 jobs and beyond; initiatives like hiring NYCHA residents for a new customer service center and funding computer science courses across city high schools; and a new cloud computer certificate program for CUNY and SUNY students.
Amazon has also deliberately called on locals to contact legislative bodies and individual politicians who have opposed the plan, like Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and State Sen. Mike Gianaris, and tell them to support it instead.
Indeed, the new HarrisX poll targets Gianaris’ senate district, which covers the area where Amazon plans on building its headquarters and most of western Queens, specifically. Of the 170 district 12 residents polled, 77 percent support Amazon’s headquarters in the area and 19 percent disapprove.
The firm said the district 12 and Queens results show no “not in my backyard sentiment” for the HQ2 project.
While the survey was done toward the end of January, its release yesterday follows reports of Gianaris being selected by the Senate majority leader to the Public Authorities Control Board, a body that will review the Amazon plan and could stop it.
The poll, like the one before it, was panned by critics of the deal.
Speaker Corey Johnson questioned the veracity of the results.
“If you believe these poll numbers – I have 500 million in direct cash to fund your trillion dollar company and I’ll throw you another 2 billion in ‘incentives’,” he tweeted, referring to the incentives outlined for Amazon as part of its deal with the city and state.
Van Bramer took to posting a basic pie chart that purports to show the calls and e-mails he has gotten from constituents on the HQ2 project that he says counter the poll.
“So a poll—paid for by Amazon—reveals that everyone loves HQ2. Shocking!,” he tweeted.
Gianaris, meanwhile, could only “laugh” in response to the Amazon-commissioned survey.
While Amazon’s deal with the city and state is not binding, the company has repeatedly signaled its intent to carry out its campus buildout as the administration has boasted of the “historic” project.
The company is in the early stages of its state-run planning and review process, and is expected to begin construction for its Anable Basin offices in 2020.