As you might have heard, Wal-Mart is once again trying to pierce the city’s armor and plant one of their megastores within our borders. They’ve hired former Bloomberg campaign manager Bradley Tusk to helm the push and have arranged a meeting with the City Council. (Originally supposed to take place this week, it had to get pushed to January because so many people wanted to show up that they needed a bigger room.) Public advocate Bill de Blasio is skeptical of this effort. “They’re not going to find it easy to get serious public support,” he told the Times. “As you reap, so shall you sow, and they’ve had a really bad history. You can talk to people across the spectrum and they’ve all heard something about the problems of Wal-Mart.”
But according to a poll (commissioned by Wal-Mart, conveniently), most New Yorkers would actually like to see one here. Of the 1,000 people polled, 71 percent would like to have a Wal-Mart here. Only 24 percent were opposed to building one, and overall roughly two thirds of New Yorkers have a favorable opinion of the brand. Sixty-three percent would even like to see a Wal-Mart located in their own neighborhood.
The groups who most strongly favored putting up a store here were poor and working-class minorities, but generally the approval of the store crossed all demographics, pollster Douglas Schoen said. In fact, the man who conducted the poll himself is most affirmatively in favor of having a Wal-Mart here. “It’s almost a no-brainer,” said Schoen, a consultant who has conducted surveys for Bill Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg. “This is a deal that benefits everyone — and poor and working-class people benefit the most. It’s a rational act.” You know what else is a no-brainer? Wal-Mart getting someone with that opinion to do their polling.