Supporting Ray Kelly is not going out on a limb

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Briefing: Kelly. (Cuomo's office via flickr)
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At a mayoral forum in Harlem hosted by Al Sharpton, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn stood out from her colleagues by suggesting she'd keep NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly in his post if she were elected mayor. The crowd booed, she soldiered on, and that was the story.

But embracing Kelly is still good politics, broadly speaking. He's popular among voters in general, among Democrats and with a majority of black voters.

In part because of his political skills, Kelly is functionally insulated from the vicissitudes of public opinion on the police department and its policies, as Reid Pillifant noted in an important story way back in 2011

This morning, Quinnipiac released a poll showing Kelly with an all-time-high job-approval rating. Although stop-and-frisk and some of the department's antiterrorism surveillance programs are controversial, and notwithstanding the sentiment of the crowd at Sharpton's event, Kelly, for the most part, is not.

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