Republicans give Mayor Bloomberg a split 50 - 48 percent approval rating on handling the protests, while disapproval is 53 - 40 percent among Democrats and 51 - 41 percent among independent voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Men disapprove 55 - 40 percent while women tip against the mayor 47 - 44 percent. White voters also edge against Bloomberg 49 - 46 percent while disapproval is 54 - 40 percent among black voters and 55 - 38 percent among Hispanic voters.
There is almost no gender gap in approval of the way police handled the protests, but there is a wide racial gap as white voters approve 60 - 37 percent while black voters disapprove 59 - 36 percent. Hispanic voters are divided 47 - 50 percent.
Bloomberg gets an overall 49 - 42 percent job approval rating, virtually unchanged from his 47 - 42 percent score October 19. White voters approve 55 - 38 percent while disapproval is 46 - 41 percent among black voters with Hispanic voters split 44 - 43 percent.
"The Occupy Wall Street protestors outscored Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the eyes of New York City voters: The mayor gets a slightly negative grade for the way he handled the situation while the protestors get a slightly positive grade," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"New Yorkers like Mayor Mike personally and they sort of like his policies, but his job approval meanders far below those heady days late in his second term. Voters continue to think that he's lost his focus in this third term."
Voters like Bloomberg as a person 64 - 24 percent and like most of his policies 52 - 43 percent. But voters say 50 - 44 percent that the mayor has lost his focus in his third term.
New York City voters approve 44 - 41 percent of the way police handled the media during the Occupy Wall Street protests. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gets a 66 - 24 percent job approval rating, 72 - 18 percent among white voters, 55 - 35 percent among black voters and 70 - 21 percent among Hispanic voters. The Police Department gets an overall 62 - 33 percent job approval rating.
New York City voters agree 68 - 24 percent with the views of the Occupy Wall Street protestors and say 81 - 15 percent that it's OK for them to protest.
Voters say 73 - 20 percent that the federal government should pursue policies that reduce the income gap, and support 75 - 19 percent tougher regulations on banks and Wall Street firms.
"Pretty much the whole city has followed the protest story. New Yorkers say they understand the message and more than two-thirds of them agree with it," Carroll said. "They'd like to see tougher regulation of banks and brokers. And they want to see a reduction in the income gap between rich and poor."
The "Living Wage" proposal currently before the New York City Council is a "good idea," voters say 74 - 19 percent. Support is 56 - 39 percent among Republicans, 83 - 11 percent among Democrats and 67 - 25 percent among independent voters.
Voters say 81 - 17 percent, including 60 - 39 percent among Republicans, that it is the government's responsibility to make sure workers are paid a decent wage.
New York City voters reject 56 - 36 percent the argument that a "Living Wage" bill would drive jobs out of the city. Women reject the argument 62 - 30 percent while men reject it by a narrower 49 - 44 percent.
"True to its image as a liberal town, New York gives big support to the City Council plan to require a "Living Wage" by companies that do business with the city. Does the government have an obligation to mandate a living wage? Overwhelmingly, voters say yes," Carroll said.
From December 7 - 12, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,242 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.