Poll: New Yorkers Don’t Really Seem to Care About NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28:  Commissioner of the New York City Police Department Ray Kelly attends the 2011 Skate for a Safe City hosted by the New York City Police Department at Wollman Rink, Central Park on March 28, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Stewart/WireImage) *** Local Caption *** Ray Kelly
Photo: Michael Stewart/2011 Michael Stewart

Today happens to be the tenth anniversary of NYPD Order 11, the bit of police code that specifically prohibits profiling.  Meanwhile, the department remains embroiled in controversy over its Muslim surveillance program, which many civil liberties advocates have called tantamount to racial profiling. And yet ordinary New Yorkers still don’t seem terribly concerned. A new poll, reports the WSJ, shows that 82 percent of voters think the NYPD has been effective in dealing with terrorism, and a majority, or 58 percent, approve of the Muslim surveillance program. Thirteen percent hadn’t heard of it, but slightly more than in February — 29, up from 24, percent — did not approve of the program. (Young and non-white voters were far less likely to approve of it.)

The Muslim spying program was more popular than the department’s less clandestine efforts. Stop-and-frisk, yet another Ray Kelly–era program that many think looks awfully similar to profiling, has an approval rating of 46 percent and a disapproval rating of 49 percent. Still, Kelly and Bloomberg have a fairly large store of goodwill on which to draw down, and they haven’t remotely hit scarcity levels yet: a full 63 percent of voters approve of how the police do their job, even in the midst of a year in which the department has garnered some of the worst headlines in recent memory.