Polls show de Blasio remains the frontrunner heading into Tuesday's NYC mayoral primary

Holly Bailey
Chirlane McCray, the wife of New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio (R), waves after being introduced while attending a campaign rally with their daughter Chiara (C) in Brooklyn, New York
REFILE - CORRECTING TYPO IN NAME OF DAUGHTER Chirlane McCray, the wife of New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio (R), waves after being introduced while attending a campaign rally with their daughter Chiara (C) in Brooklyn, New York September 7, 2013. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the Democratic front-runner to succeed him as mayor is waging a "class warfare and racist" campaign, according to an interview published on New York Magazine's website on Saturday. Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate who has built his campaign around rising economic inequality, has been surging in public polls, overtaking the race's longtime front-runner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Bloomberg ally. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

NEW YORK — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio remains the candidate to beat in the city’s Democratic mayoral primary as two new polls showed him with a commanding lead heading into Tuesday’s voting.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Monday found de Blasio leading the race, with 39 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters. That’s a 14-point lead over former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who had 25 percent support. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn had 18 percent support, while the other candidates were in single digits, including former Rep. Anthony Weiner, with 6 percent; Comptroller John Liu, 4 percent and 1 percent for former council member Sal Albanese.

Eight percent remain undecided heading into Tuesday, according to Quinnipiac — which reported a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Those findings came just hours after a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll released Sunday night found de Blasio with 36 percent support among likely Democratic voters. That’s a 16-point lead over Thompson and Quinn, who were tied for second place with 20 percent apiece.

Both surveys suggested de Blasio is within close reach of the 40 percent threshold necessary to avoid an Oct. 1 run-off election.

The polls came after a final weekend of furious campaigning by the mayoral hopefuls, as each sought to energize their base supporters and sway undecided and wavering voters their way.

Quinn, who is vying to be the city’s first female and first openly gay mayor, kicked off her final push on Friday night with a rally outside the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, widely considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

Once the frontrunner in the race, Quinn has lost major ground in recent weeks, as her rivals have hammered her for her close ties to Michael Bloomberg, the outgoing mayor.

Seeking to regain momentum, Quinn on Friday sought to play up the historic nature of her candidacy — a subject she has largely shied away from throughout the campaign.

“We’re standing on hallowed ground, on a place where people before us said, ‘We’re not going to get pushed around anymore. You’ve taken enough hits at us. You have pushed us down enough. We’re not going to take it anymore,’” Quinn said. “In the course of this campaign, we’ve taken a lot of hits. We’ve been attacked over and over and over by my opponents and by independent expenditures. And we’re right here tonight on ground where people fought back against things much harder than we have … to send a message that we’re moving forward.”

But de Blasio countered with his own event up the road — where he was mobbed by supporters at a subway stop near Quinn’s apartment in the Chelsea section of Manhattan who have embraced his platform as the anti-Bloomberg in the race.

Meanwhile, Thompson, the race's only black candidate, spent the weekend trying to fend off a de Blasio surge among black voters. He held several events in heavily black neighborhoods throughout the city, including south Brooklyn and Queens, where he described de Blasio as a politician who could not deliver on lofty campaign promises.

“Are we going to have a future of empty promises? Because that’s what we’re seeing right now: empty promises, people who will say anything,” Thompson said at a Sunday rally in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. “That’s not what I’m going to do. I’m talking about hard work, not easy words.”

On Monday, Thompson was set to kick off a 24-hour stretch of campaigning, holding events in all five boroughs ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

But the campaigning was largely overshadowed by Bloomberg’s decision to speak out on the race to replace him. In an interview with New York Magazine published Saturday, the outgoing mayor trashed de Blasio’s campaign, saying his campaign tactics have been “racist” and based on “class warfare.”

Bloomberg accused de Blasio, who is Italian American, of using his multiracial family — his wife is black and their kids are mixed race — to score points with voters. It was a critique that drew wide condemnation from de Blasio and his rivals, who rejected Bloomberg’s comments.

But de Blasio and his campaign quickly moved to capitalize on Bloomberg’s interview, in which the outgoing mayor also rejected de Blasio’s argument that New York has become a “tale of two cities” — one that has become too focused on the rich at the expense of the poor.

Speaking to a few hundred supporters at Borough Hall in downtown Brooklyn on Sunday, de Blasio argued that Bloomberg’s comments were proof of the “change” needed at City Hall and insisted he’s the person who can be that change agent.

Firmly ahead in the polls, de Blasio maintained a more leisurely schedule than his rivals over the weekend, headlining a few rallies near his home in Park Slope, Brooklyn. But speaking on Sunday, he repeatedly warned supporters not to be complacent heading into Tuesday’s vote and pressed them to get as many people as they can to the polls.

“All I ask you is go out there and get your Starbucks or your Red Bull or whatever will keep you from having to sleep the next 48 hours and bring this home,” de Blasio said.