Bill de Blasio takes the lead in NYC mayoral race: poll

Holly Bailey
Yahoo News
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NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 12: Public Advocate and New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio speaks in Times Square. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — In a major shift ahead of next month’s Democratic primary, a new poll indicates Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has taken the lead in the race to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The Quinnipiac University poll released on Tuesday found de Blasio, 52, with 30 percent support among likely Democratic voters. That’s a six-point lead over City Council Speaker and onetime front-runner Christine Quinn, who registered 24 percent support in the poll. Former Comptroller Bill Thompson drew 22 percent, while the other mayoral hopefuls trailed far behind — including former Rep. Anthony Weiner (10 percent), Comptroller John Liu (6 percent) and former City Council member Sal Albanese (1 percent).

The survey of 579 likely Democratic voters was conducted Aug. 7-12 and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Weiner, whose campaign has been imperiled by a sexting scandal, has vowed he won’t quit the race, but the poll suggests that New Yorkers are no longer taking his mayoral bid seriously. According to the poll, 52 percent of likely Democratic voters say he should drop out of the race and 51 percent say they would never vote for him.

While Weiner insisted as recently as Tuesday that voters are more interested in policy issues than his private life, 68 percent of those polled call his sexting scandal a “legitimate issue” in the mayor’s race — though voters are split on whether it disqualifies him. Thirty-eight percent said the issue disqualifies him from getting their vote, compared to 39 percent who say it is a factor but does not eliminate him from consideration.

With less than a month to go before the Sept. 10 primary, the poll marked a major change in fortune for de Blasio, a left-leaning Brooklyn resident whose support has literally doubled in a month. In a July poll taken before Weiner’s latest sexting drama was made public, de Blasio trailed in fourth place, with just 15 percent support.

In the latest poll, Quinn, who was an early favorite to replace Bloomberg, saw a slight decrease in support — dipping from 27 percent support in a Quinnipiac survey released July 29 to her current 24 percent. But her numbers have been more or less steady all summer, even amid the rise of Weiner and now de Blasio.

A key point of weakness for Quinn's campaign appears to be among black voters and, surprisingly, women. According to the latest poll, 18 percent of likely Democratic voters who are black are supporting Quinn’s bid for mayor — compared to 39 percent for Thompson and 22 percent for de Blasio. And 31 percent of female voters are backing de Blasio, compared to 26 percent support for Quinn and 23 percent for Thompson.

While a New York Times/Siena College poll last month found Quinn gaining because she was viewed as more empathetic than her rivals, she’s lost that advantage to de Blasio.

According to Quinnipiac, 46 percent of voters say Quinn’s moral character is “great or good” compared to 63 percent for de Blasio. Fifty-eight percent of voters say de Blasio “understands the problems of people like you” compared to 41 percent for Quinn.

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