De Blasio, Quinn Neck-and-Neck

Posted on 16 August 2013 by Community Voice NY


New York City mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has the momentum in the race for the Democratic nomination, climbing his way into a tie with rival Christine Quinn as she scrambles to keep her support before Primary Day, a new Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist survey showed Thursday.

Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, and Ms. Quinn, speaker of the City Council, are tied for first place at 24% among likely Democratic voters, according to the poll. Bill Thompson, a former city comptroller, was close behind, in third place, at 18%.

In the bottom tier, Anthony Weiner, a former congressman who led the Democratic pack earlier this summer, drew support from 11%, and John Liu, the city’s comptroller, fell to 5%. Among likely Democratic primary voters, 12% remain undecided, and the margin of error was plus or minus 5.2 percentage points.

In the Sept. 10 primary, Mr. de Blasio has jumped seven percentage points among likely voters since last month, fueled in large part by his growing standing among black voters. Mr. de Blasio, who is married to a black woman, has the support of 20% of black Democratic voters in the latest poll, compared with 10% in July. The poll is the second this week that has shown Mr. de Blasio’s rise; a Quinnipiac University poll on Tuesday had him leading Ms. Quinn, 30% to 24%.

To win the nomination, a candidate must secure 40% of the vote; otherwise, a runoff will be held on Oct. 1 between the top two vote getters. For the first time in a poll conducted by Marist, Ms. Quinn is trailing each of her chief rivals in a potential runoff contest.

The topsy-turvy contest has changed considerably in recent weeks. In a July 25 poll, Ms. Quinn held the top spot among likely voters, with 26%, a nine-percentage-point lead over her closest rival.

“Weiner has faded, and Quinn and de Blasio are running dead even, with Thompson in striking distance,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The big change in the numbers has been a gain in de Blasio’s standing from the previous poll to make this a very tight contest.”

In an interview on MSNBC Thursday morning, before the release of the poll results, Ms. Quinn said she isn’t surprised that the candidates have found themselves in a close contest.

“I always thought this would be a really tight race, that at the end of it, in the final month, which we’re in now, that you would see really a tightening, and everybody in a really close race,” Ms. Quinn said. “So, I’m not surprised that we’re seeing—which you can bet the mortgage on—polls go up and down.”

Dan Levitan, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said, “Voters are getting to know Bill de Blasio and they are responding, because he is the only Democrat who will break from the Bloomberg years.”

A representative of the Thompson campaign declined to comment and the Weiner and Liu campaigns didn’t respond to requests for comment.

In the comptroller race, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer held a double-digit lead against Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, leading 54% to 36% among likely Democratic voters. Mr. Spitzer, who resigned as governor in 2008 after he was caught patronizing prostitutes, has widened his lead by six percentage points since July.

In the race for the Democratic mayoral nomination, the contest remains fluid. “There’s still many chapters to be written before the primary,” Mr. Miringoff said. “There’s many, many persuadable voters.”

Among registered Democrats with a candidate preference, 43% said they strongly support their choice, while 37% said they were somewhat committed and 17% said they might vote differently. Mr. de Blasio’s supporters appear to be the most committed, with 48% saying they won’t waiver, compared with 41% for Mr. Thompson and 35% for Ms. Quinn.

With nine candidates on the Democratic primary ballot, there is next to no chance anyone will win the contest outright, and so the top candidates have focused their efforts on securing a spot in the runoff. While Ms. Quinn has spent most of the race as the front-runner, the poll showed she will be the underdog in a runoff, Mr. Miringoff said.

In a hypothetical face-off with Mr. de Blasio, he leads against Ms. Quinn 44% to 42% among registered democrats. If the runoff were between Mr. Thompson and Ms. Quinn, he leads 44% to 43%. Mr. de Blasio would also beat Mr. Thompson in a runoff, 44% to 36%, the poll showed. The margins in all three cases were slightly wider among likely voters.

Since last month, when Mr. Weiner admitted he continued to exchange lewd online messages following his 2011 resignation from congress for the same conduct, his standing in the public polls has plummeted. Among registered Democrats citywide, 63% said they have an unfavorable opinion of him, his worst showing since he jumped into the race this spring.

Nearly six in 10 city Democrats said they have a positive impression of Mr. de Blasio, while 14% said they have an unfavorable view of him. Mr. de Blasio’s favorability rating has steadily climbed, while Ms. Quinn’s has declined.

The poll showed 54% of registered Democrats have a favorable impression of Ms. Quinn, compared with nearly a third who have an unfavorable impression. For months on the campaign trail, Ms. Quinn has been the target of the most attacks from her opponents, resulting in her unfavorability rating climbing 15 points since February.

Mr. de Blasio’s surge in the poll is coming mostly from black voters, as well as an increase in votes from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens. Mr. de Blasio, who lives in Brooklyn, has sought on the campaign trail to paint himself as the candidate best poised to pay attention to New Yorkers who live outside Manhattan. Among likely Latino primary voters, Ms. Quinn is the clear favorite, beating her closest opponent by double digits in this demographic.

Write to Michael Howard Saul at
A version of this article appeared August 16, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: De Blasio, Quinn Neck-and-Neck.
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