No Pushing New Yorkers Around, Walmart Welcome in Big Apple

03/22/2011 10:16 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Doug Schoen Founding Partner; Penn, Schoen, and Berland

In response to Al Norman's post entitled "Walmart: Unions Love Us," I would like to respond with the following.

Very simply, Walmart has commissioned numerous polls in New York City, all of which have shown approximately the same thing: overwhelming support for Walmart in all sections and all segments of the city.

What poll after poll has consistently shown is that approximately three-quarters of New Yorkers - whether they be lower income or upper income; white, black or Hispanic -- support Walmart.

We asked straight-forward questions -- whether New Yorkers favor or oppose Walmart -- and got straightforward answers that were consistent across polls.

We used straightforward research techniques -- techniques I have employed in some 40 years of conducting survey research in New York City -- to find results that are clear and unambiguous.

There was no "push-polling" done. "Push-polling" quite frankly being a pejorative term used to cast aspersions on efforts that political campaigns make that seek to masquerade as polls.

What was done here was straightforward research of the type that is taught in major universities -- one of which, Oxford University, granted me a doctorate in political philosophy.

And the research that has been conducted -- be it among citywide respondents, union members, or residents in specific boroughs or city council districts -- has been designed to try to understand how New Yorkers feel: Which is strongly supportive of Walmart.

As Thomas Riehle suggests in his poll, there are indeed some people, and some neighborhoods that are less supportive of Walmart than others, which is what one would expect.

Neither I nor Walmart has hidden this -- but neither do we want to obscure the basic fact: there is a broad-based desire to bring new business and new jobs to the city, which is what Walmart has undertaken to do.

The larger conclusion is what I have stated here and in previous releases of the data: A substantial three-quarter majority of New York City residents support Walmart. And in minority communities, between 73 percent and in excess of 80 percent of residents support Walmart because of the choice, value, and opportunity that the brand presents -- both in terms of shopping and employment.

As additional support of our research I wanted to call to your attention a recent third party poll that was conducted by the respected Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, the results of which were released on March 18. This independent poll further supports the research that we have conducted and confirmed our findings, that New Yorkers strongly support Walmart. The Quinnipiac poll concluded: New York City voters say 57 - 36 percent that elected officials should allow Walmart to open stores in the city and say 68 - 29 percent that they would shop at a Walmart in the city if it were convenient.

And these findings make sense.

Indeed, they comport with everything we know. People want more jobs. They prefer to pay less for goods and services, and they favor big, clean, affordable supermarkets.

This isn't exactly earth-shattering news, nor is it surprising.

The fact that Mr. Norman would seek to use a straightforward polling process that has demonstrated an ongoing and consistent desire for a Walmart store and the Walmart brand to come to New York City is part of his own effort to advance his own agenda, and is indeed very sad and regrettable.