Voters: Democrats do a better job running local government

November 05, 2013, 1:11 PM GMT+0

When asked if the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is better at handling different local government functions, Americans give the Democratic Party the edge in every area except policing

Today voters in New York City head to the ballot boxes to elect their mayor, with progressive Democrat Bill De Blasio heavily favored to defeat his Republican challenger Joe Lhota. If elected, De Blasio will be the first Democrat elected as mayor of New York since David Dinkins in 1989. To mark the event YouGov asked Americans nationwide which party would better handle the functions of local government – such as schooling, policing and public transit – and found that the Democratic Party had a consistent edge over the GOP.

The Democratic Party is preferred by the widest margin when it comes to promoting the Arts, something which four in ten Americans (39%) think would be better left in the hands of the Democrats. The Republican Party, on the other hand, lagged behind the Democrats in every area except policing, where the GOP has a marginal 2-point lead.

Notably, there were plenty of Americans unsure about which party would be best for local government (from 41% 'not sure' about schooling, to 57% 'not sure' about garbage collection).

In some cases, responses were partisan. On schooling, where 59% of Americans had a preference (the most of any area), preferences generally matched with the party identification of respondents.

However, what may give the Democratic Party the edge in many cases is the greater unity among ordinary Democrats than among their Republican counterparts. For all functions, at least 50% of Democrats prefer their own party, while Republicans were sometimes more divided.

Such is the case with recycling, where 30% of Republicans voted for the Democratic party, and 36% for the Republican party. The Republicans were also split over which party is better at supporting the arts, where Republicans were split almost equally between the parties. Of course, recycling and promoting the Arts are also both areas where many Republicans may believe government does not belong at all.

Independents were almost always the swing vote in terms of which party ended up 'winning'. It is also interesting to note, however, that on every issue, the majority of Independents voted 'not sure'. Further, Independents tended to prefer the Democratic Party over the Republican Party for every local government function except for schooling (24%-Dem, 25%-Rep) and policing (21%-Dem, 24%-Rep).

Also today are two gubernatorial elections, one in New Jersey and another in Virginia.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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