Why Christine Quinn stays as close to Ray Kelly as possible

Ray Kelly. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Christine Quinn has reportedly committed to keeping Ray Kelly on as NYPD commissioner if she becomes mayor, which would be consistent with her earlier statements that any mayor would be "lucky" to have him running the department.

Quinn is generally close to Michael Bloomberg—certainly closer than any of her prospective Democratic competitors.

Kelly has come under criticism for the department's stop-and-frisk policy, which critics say unfairly targets black and Latino young men. But while Quinn has joined other Democrats in saying the current stop-and-frisk program needs to be changed, she has stayed close to Kelly while saying it.

There's little downside for Quinn in publicizing her ties to Kelly, even in the context of a Democratic primary.  

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Kelly's popularity been remarkably resilient over the years, for substantive and political reasons, even when his department has come under fire.

Between 2005 and 2012, there have been ten Quinnipiac public opinion polls online that included questions about Kelly's job performance, and Democratic respondents gave Kelly high marks in all of them. 

Among black voters, a majority of whom are Democrats, Kelly's approval rating has fluctuated. But in five polls taken since 2010, a majority of black voters approved of Kelly's job performance.

(Among white voters, Kelly's job approval rating never dipped below 68 percent.)

All of which may explain why, even though Quinn's opponents have been willing to take jabs at her for her closeness to Bloomberg, none of them so far has said anything about her reported deal with Kelly.

It may also explain why, in response to the Post story detailing the deal, an NYPD spokesman denied the existence of an agreement, and a Quinn spokesman didn't.

Here are some of the numbers, from Quinnipac:

 

Ray Kelly's job approval (approve-disapprove-DK/NA)


June 23, 2005

Democrats: 62-17-21

white: 68-10-21

black: 63-24-13

 

March 15, 2007

Democrats: 50-34-16

white: 71-15-14

black: 39-50-11

 

November 19, 2007

Democrats: 48-35-17

white: 70-13-17

black: 42-47-11

 

March 13, 2008

Democrats: 58-30-12

white: 75-16-9

black: 44-44-11

 

May 7, 2008

Democrats: 55-32-13

white: 76-13-11

black: 36-55-9

 

February 18, 2010

Democrats: 67-18-15

white: 80-9-10

black: 58-27-15

 

July 27, 2011

Democrats: 67-17-16

white: 80-9-11

black: 60-26-14

 

October 19, 2011

Democrats: 65-25-10

white: 78-15-8

black: 51-39-10

 

March 13, 2012

Democrats: 62-27-11

white: 75-15-10

black: 51-35-14

 

May 10, 2012

Democrats: 60-29-11

white: 75-15-10

black: 53-33-14

 

===

 

June 23, 2005

Should Kelly be reappointed?

Democrats: 56-22-22

white: 61-15-24

black: 60-25-15

 

Vote for a candidate who'll reappoint Kelly?

Democrats: 7-11-76

white: 5-13-75

black: 8-12-77

 

March 13, 2012

Vote for a candidate who'll reappoint Kelly?

Democrats: 24-19-54

white: 38-12-48

black: 12-29-54