New Yorkers are blaming 'villain' Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after Amazon abandoned its HQ2 plans

Ira Black/Getty ImagesRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • A poll of New Yorkers found that most think Amazon cancelling its plans to build a second headquarters in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens was bad for New York.
  • More than a third blamed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens.
  • Ocasio-Cortez was critical of the deal and celebrated when Amazon announced last month that it was pulling out of New York, but she has since indicated she’s not totally opposed to Amazon setting up shop in the city.

A poll of registered voters in New York found that more than a third blamed Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez for Amazon’s cancellation of its plans to build a second headquarters in the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens.

When Amazon announced on February 14 that it was abandoning its New York HQ2 plans, it laid the blame squarely with politicians but did not name names.

“A number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward with the project,” it said in a blog post at the time.

Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of the Bronx and Queens neighbouring Long Island City, was critical of the HQ2 deal – citing the billions in dollars in tax breaks offered to the retail giant from the city and the state – and celebrated when Amazon announced it was pulling out of New York.

The Siena College poll, released Monday, suggests that New Yorkers may resent Ocasio-Cortez for her opposition. In the survey of 700 registered New York voters, 67% said they thought that Amazon cancelling its HQ2 plans was bad for New York. The telephone poll was conducted from March 10 to 14 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Respondents were asked whether key figures in the Amazon deal were a “hero,” a “villain,” or a “role player.” Ocasio-Cortez was most frequently called a villain, with 38% of those polled designating her as one.

The poll also indicated that Ocasio-Cortez’s approval rating has taken a hit since Amazon’ decision. In a Quinnipiac poll in January, 34% of respondents found her favourable and 29% said she was unfavorable. In the Siena College poll, those figures were 31% and 44%.

Siena College said in a press release that the biggest “villain” differed depending on people’s political beliefs.

“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,” Steven Greenberg, a Siena College pollster, said in the release.

Right-wing groups were quick to point the finger at Ocasio-Cortez for Amazon’s decision. Late last month, the Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted a photo of a billboard in Times Square from a conservative business group blaming Ocasio-Cortez for “25,000 lost NYC jobs” and “$US4 billion in lost wages.”

However, Ocasio-Cortez recently signalled that she’s not completely opposed to Amazon coming to New York.


Read more:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not against wooing Amazon back to New York, but she says the firm must listen to locals

And though Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been trying to court Amazon to come back, he told the WAMC radio station on Monday that he wasn’t hopeful, saying that “the horse is out of the barn.”

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