NYers OK with city taking initiative against booze abuse: Poll
A majority of New Yorkers want Mayor Michael Bloomberg to keep his hands off their soda, but when it comes to booze, they're OK with him making an early last call.
About 56% of New Yorkers said it would be a good idea for Bloomberg to crack down on alcohol abuse, while about 54% of Gothamites said they opposed his plan to ban sugary drinks greater than 16 ounces, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week.
Although the mayor has not announced a definite plan to restrict booze, he's rumored to be eyeing some sort of action.
In January, the city was considering a plan that would limit alcohol-related advertising and the number of bars and restaurants that could sell booze, but the mayor's office dropped the proposal.
Bloomberg has made the pursuit of public health initiatives, many of which have polarized the city, a staple of his time in office.
"Bloomberg is a guy that feels the normal mayor stuff, like taking out the garbage, is not the end of his duties," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
The mayor's office declined to discuss the poll.
"The administration uses science and research to inform policy decisions, not what's politically popular or unpopular," a Bloomberg spokeswoman said in a statement.
New Yorkers of all ages approved of a hypothetical plan to curb alcohol in the city. One-quarter of all participants didn't have an opinion, according to the poll.
Robert Y. Shapiro, a political science professor at Columbia University, said the difference in opinion on the soda and beer limits is because New Yorkers see alcohol abuse as a more serious issue than obesity.
"It's government intrusiveness versus the nature of the problem," he said.
Sandra Kombel, 30, of the Upper West Side, agreed with those who want more regulations on alcohol. Alcohol abuse destroys relationships and health, she said.
David Antunes, 24, of Flushing, said he was on the fence about the issue because alcohol abuse doesn't just happen at bars and restaurants.
"In terms of alcoholics, liquor stores are more of the problem," he said.
Elizabeth Nelis, a manager at Stout NYC in midtown, said she couldn't think of an effective way that the city could crack down on alcohol abuse, other than promoting education.
"We're really big about educating our staff on how to serve our customers responsibly," she said.