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Gov. Andrew Cuomo tore into Senate Democrats who are opposing Amazon’s plans for his second headquarters in Queens during a speech on Long Island on Feb. 8, 2019.
Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY – What’s $3 billion of taxpayers’ money if you can land 25,000 new Amazon jobs in New York City?

That’s what the majority of New Yorkers thought in a new poll that shows the majority of voters support the controversial deal for Amazon to build its second headquarters in Queens.

By 56 percent to 36 percent, New Yorkers approved of the agreement between New York and the online retail giant amid ongoing opposition from local leaders and threats that Amazon could back out of the deal, the Siena College poll Tuesday found.

“Even as Amazon is said to be reexamining the deal with New York to locate in Queens, by 20 points New York voters approve of the deal,” said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute.

“Upstate voters are evenly divided, but suburban voters strongly approve and in New York City, where some local activists have voiced opposition, voters approve of the deal by 23 points.” 

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Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon’s headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Seattle. Amazon, which is growing too big for its Seattle hometown, is spreading out to the East Coast. (Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)

Amazon would get up to $3 billion in subsidies from New York and the city in exchange for producing 25,000 to 40,000 jobs at its new headquarters in Long Island City.

Amazon said it was pleased with the latest poll results.

“This is yet another clear validation that New Yorkers want 25,000 great jobs, with great benefits, that Amazon is ready to deliver to the community,” the Seattle-based company said in a statement.

“From construction jobs to software engineer positions, the tens of thousands of jobs we plan to create will be available to residents of all education levels and professional backgrounds, and our new headquarters will help improve the city’s economy for generations to come.”

The company vowed to work with neighbors as it develops its plans, even as the Washington Post reported last week that Amazon was considering whether to continue with its plans amid backlash from local residents and leaders.

“As we continue engaging with our new neighbors – community leaders, tenant advocates, small business owners, and neighborhood stakeholders – we’re focused on demonstrating the kind of neighbor we plan to be,” Amazon’s statement continued.

“We’re very appreciative that everyday New Yorkers, both in Queens and across the city, have shown us so much support.”

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Detractors continue

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo discusses Amazon’s decision to come to Queens on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018.
Governor’s Office, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Opponents are concerned about the tax breaks being offered to Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world. They are also worried about home values, traffic and the impact on schools if Amazon goes ahead with its plans.

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been steadfast in their support of the deal, saying New York won a national competition along with Virginia for Amazon and the state shouldn’t turn its back on the economic benefits Amazon would bring.

“If Amazon does not come to New York, it’s because of the political opposition,” Cuomo said Friday.

“Because it is so ironic for Amazon, after they spent one year with everyone seducing them, and everyone courting them, we win and then there’s political opposition.”

The poll had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. It was conducted Feb. 4-7 by telephone calls to 778 New York registered voters.

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