This much we know (or thought we knew): Republicans are from Mars, and New Yorkers are from, well, New York. In fact, the divide between the typical New Yorker and the thousands of Dubya-loving, Fox News–watching interlopers who are descending on our fair Democratic city can seem so extreme, so epic, that their presence, for most of us, seems like nothing short of an alien invasion.
But a New York Magazine poll of 400 Republican-primary voters and 400 New York City residents of all parties suggests that maybe—maybe—the occupation is less adversarial than previously spun. Republicans, it turns out, often have a much more nuanced and generous view of New Yorkers than any of us might have guessed. (Could the Republicans actually be from . . . Venus?)
Most remarkably, New York’s bipartisan poll—jointly conducted by the polling firms Global Strategy Group and the Polling Company (the former generally a Democratic pollster, the latter generally Republican)—shows that New Yorkers think we’re even more pushy, materialistic, and arrogant than the Republicans think we are. In other words, as bad as they think us, we think we’re worse. (As always, New Yorkers are all about excess.) We also judge ourselves to be even looser than they imagined (and we should know)—39 percent of New Yorkers, versus 26 percent of the Republicans, suppose that New Yorkers are more sexually promiscuous than average Americans. Which means the born-again Christians among Republican-primary voters—nearly two-fifths self-identify as such—who may want to let their hair down Amish in the City–style while in New York could get even luckier than they might ever dare hope.
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The Republicans, notably, are a remarkably homogenous group: Some 88 percent of them say they’re Caucasian/white— versus 37 percent of New Yorkers. And less than 1 percent of the Republicans say they’re Jewish or gay (versus 9 percent and 3 percent, respectively, of New Yorkers), while 35 percent of Republicans have a college or graduate degree (versus 41 percent of New Yorkers). Perhaps surprisingly, 58 percent of Republican households (versus 53 percent of New York households) make under $75,000 a year, and only 3 percent of them (versus 4 percent for New York) claim to have an income of $200,000 or more.
Somewhat hilariously, 36 percent of New Yorkers surveyed think that there are more Starbucks than churches in New York (versus 51 percent of Republicans who think that), which makes you wonder what level of caffeination prompted 26 percent of surveyed New Yorkers (versus 7 percent of Republicans) to declare that New Yorkers are more religious than average Americans.