New poll shows clear leader in NYC Democratic mayoral primary

Holly Bailey
Yahoo NewsSeptember 3, 2013
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Bill de Blasio, running in the NYC Mayor's race, foreground second from right, dances with his family as he makes his way along Eastern Parkway in the Brooklyn borough of New York during the West Indian Day Parade, Monday, Sept. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Tina Fineberg)

NEW YORK — Just one week before the Sept. 10 primary, a new poll suggests Bill de Blasio could possibly avoid a runoff in the Democratic race for mayor.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday found that 43 percent of likely Democratic voters are backing de Blasio’s bid to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg — just past the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election.

De Blasio, who is the city’s public advocate, has a 23-point lead over his closest contender, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who is in second place at 20 percent. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, once the front-runner in the race, has slipped to 18 percent support.

The other contenders in the race are in single digits, including former Rep. Anthony Weiner, at 7 percent, Comptroller John Liu at 4 percent and former City Council member Sal Albanese at 1 percent. Eight percent of voters remain undecided, according to the poll, which reported a plus or minus 3.6 percentage point margin of error.

But it’s unclear if de Blasio really has cleared the 40 percent threshold needed. Quinnipiac’s likely vote tally also included people who said they are undecided but are leaning toward a candidate — a caveat that could have a significant impact on where the mayoral hopefuls actually stand.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released last Friday — which did not include “leaners” — found de Blasio with 32 percent support among likely Democratic voters, trailed by Thompson (18 percent) and Quinn (17 percent).

The Quinnipiac poll continues to mark a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for de Blasio, who had been trailing in fourth place just six weeks ago. His surge appears to be linked to his heavy campaigning on issues including his stance against the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk measure, which allowed police officers to randomly search people, and income inequality in New York. Both issues have helped him win strong support among the city's black voters, who make up about 30 percent of the electorate.

According to Quinnipiac, 47 percent of black voters are backing de Blasio, compared with 25 percent for Thompson, the race’s only black candidate.

De Blasio has also won over women — a crucial voting bloc that had been expected to back Quinn, who is vying to be the city’s first female mayor. The poll finds that 44 percent of female voters are backing de Blasio, compared with 19 percent for Thompson and 18 percent for Quinn.