The majority of New Yorkers believe that losing the planned Amazon HQ2 headquarters in Queens is bad for the state and say Westchester high school graduate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is most to blame, according to a brand new Siena College poll .
Last year, Amazon announced that it was planning to build two new Amazon HQ2 headquarters, one in Long Island City, and a second in northern Virginia, bringing more than 25,000 jobs to the region. Last month, the retail giant backed out of the deal, despite billions of dollars in state and local incentives.
The newly released Siena Poll found that 67 percent of New Yorkers said that Amazon cancelling its planned headquarters in Queens was bad for New York. Just 21 percent of those polled said that it was a good thing.
“At least 63 percent of Democrats, Republicans and independents, upstaters and downstaters, men and women, young and old, black and white New Yorkers agree: Amazon pulling out of Queens was bad for New York. Even 56 percent of self-described liberals think it was bad for New York,” Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg stated. “While some may have celebrated Amazon’s announcement to pull the plug, the vast majority of New Yorkers of every stripe thought it was bad for the Empire State.”
According to the poll, New Yorkers have thrown plenty of blame around at several elected officials.
“Who do New Yorkers blame? Well, there’s certainly blame enough to go around. More people think that Amazon, Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo, (NYC) Mayor (Bill) de Blasio, the State Senate, and local Queens activists were villains in this saga than they were heroes,” Greenberg added.
“However, voters say the biggest villain was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Only 12 percent call her a hero, while 38 percent label her a villain. Amazon itself was seen as the biggest villain among Democrats, but Republicans and independents had Ocasio-Cortez as far and away the largest villain, followed by the local Queens activists.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a 2007 Yorktown HS grad, was one of the most outspoken voices protesting Amazon’s plans in Queens, and she was among the first to celebrate the announcement that the company would be pulling out to focus on their campus in Virginia.
“This deal wasn’t a simple tax break. It was $3 BILLION dollars. When the community wanted to negotiate, Amazon said ‘all or nothing.’ They bailed when they didn’t get 100 percent of what they wanted,” she said. “Amazon was not coming to my Congressional district, had no concentrated outreach to us that I’m aware of, yet (with) no effort I defeated the richest man in the world?”
Following Amazon’s announcement that they would not be pursuing a Queens campus, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted Ocasio-Cortez and other politicians who spoke out against the deal.
“I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately, what happened in this city when it almost went to bankruptcy in the 1970s," he said. "I saw all the times progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kinds of mistakes that alienated working people,” he said.
“Working people are very smart and very discerning. They want jobs, they want revenue, they want the kinds of things that government can do for them. They understand they have to be paid for.”
The Siena poll also found that the majority of New Yorkers would support the deal coming back together if Cuomo and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could get back on the same page, Greenberg noted.
“The Amazon deal was seen as very contentious, however, there was strong support for it last month, before it got canceled. There is an overwhelming feeling that its cancellation was bad for the state. And there is strong support – among all demographic groups – for Amazon to reconsider and move forward. Clearly, jobs outweigh the cost of government incentives in the minds of most voters.”
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