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Some voters labeled AOC the biggest ‘villain’ in loss of NYC’s HQ2, poll says

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was outspoken in opposition to locating the company’s second headquarters in Queens

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing in Rayburn Building. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Some New Yorkers see Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others as “villains” in Amazon’s decision to cancel its planned New York City headquarters, a new poll released Monday shows.

“Amazon itself was seen as the biggest villain among Democrats, but Republicans and independents had Ocasio-Cortez as far and away the largest villain, followed by the local Queens activists,” said Siena College Pollster Steven Greenberg.

Amazon announced in February it was canceling plans to build a second headquarters in Queens, which could have employed 25,000 workers. Ocasio-Cortez was an outspoken opponent to the company’s plan, especially when it came to the roughly $3 billion in state and city incentives the company was offered. 

The Siena College Research Institute poll asked 700 registered New York voters about whether they thought several people and groups — including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, local activists, Amazon and New York’s labor unions — were a “hero,” a “villain” or just a “role player” in Amazon’s decision to cancel its plans to locate a second headquarters in Queens.

The poll found that 38 percent of all New Yorkers surveyed labeled Ocasio-Cortez a “villain.” Only 12 percent of those who responded to the poll said they consider the first-term Democrat a “hero.” 

Among the Republicans surveyed, more than half saw Ocasio-Cortez as a “villain.”

Ocasio-Cortez’ district encompasses Queens, and on the day the company announced its withdrawal, she declared in that tweet that New Yorkers “defeated Amazon’s corporate greed” through their activism.

Her office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Seattle-based company announced last year it would build two satellite headquarters on the east coast — one in New York and one in Washington D.C. Amazon said it will continue moving forward on plans to build its second headquarters in the D.C. suburb of Arlington. 

Two-thirds of the voters surveyed said they believed that canceling the project, commonly referred to as HQ2, is bad for New York. 

A February Siena College poll of 778 registered voters from across the state reported 56 percent of respondents approved Amazon building a Queens headquarters and receiving tax incentives, while 36 percent disapproved.

Support for the HQ2 plan was highest among the African-American and Latino voters polled in the earlier survey. 

Monday’s survey asked voters a range of other questions about issues including, child vaccinations, legalizing marijuana and allowing undocumented immigrants to receive drivers’ licenses. Its margin of error was plus or minus 4.2 percent.

Voters were also asked about the general favorability of some of New York’s congressional politicians.

Fifty-one percent of voters polled said they have a favorable view of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, while 43 percent gave a favorable view of  Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Forty-four percent of respondents viewed Ocasio-Cortez unfavorably, while a third favored her. About a quarter didn’t know or had no opinion on the freshman representative. 

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