Walmart protesters demand better wages
Protesters gather in front of a Walmart store in the nations capital Friday to demand better wages in Washington, DC on November 28,2014. (Photo by Muhammed Bilal Kenasari/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Photograph by Bilal Kenasari — Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Majority of New Yorkers want Walmart in the city

Aug 10, 2015

While New York has been a hotbed of activism aimed at getting Walmart (wmt) to pay its workers better, a clear majority of its citizens would welcome its stores in one of the last holdouts among major cities that have blocked its efforts to set up shop.

Some 55% of New Yorkers want elected officials to allow Walmart to finally open a store within the city's five boroughs, while 39% are opposed, according to survey released on Monday by Quinnipiac University. More strikingly, the support for a Walmart store was almost as high among union households. And 64% of New Yorkers said they'd shop at a Walmart if it were convenient.

Still, a Walmart store in the largest U.S. city is likely a distant prospect: in his previous job as public advocate, Mayor Bill de Blasio fiercely opposed efforts by the retailer to open a store in Brooklyn, issuing several reports saying Walmart’s entry into New York would cause a loss of jobs in the city and hurt small businesses. And the retailer has been a favorite punching bag of City Council. In any case, a company spokesman told Fortune that Walmart has no current plans for a New York store.

A few years ago, the company was trying hard to open a store in Brooklyn, part of a larger effort by the company to open more urban stores and fill a gap in its portfolio. At the time, Walmart noted that New Yorkers spent $215 million that year at suburban stores, which, it suggested, demonstrated consumer interest in having a Walmart in Brooklyn.

Though New Yorkers still seem keen for a Walmart (the results are similar to those from a poll by Quinnipiac in 2011), some 55% of them nonetheless think Walmart should pay workers better, even after its move earlier this year to raise its minimum wage.

The poll of 1,108 New York City voters was taken between July 30 and August 4 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.

Meanwhile, New Yorkers also showed support for Uber, with 65% saying elected officials are trying to limit Uber because of campaign donations from the yellow cab industry rather than acting in the city's best interest. And 47% said they opposed efforts to limit Uber in New York, compared to 40% who supported such efforts.

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