New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is the early favorite in the Big Apple's 2013 Democratic mayoral primary, according to a new NY1-Marist poll released late Monday.
Quinn holds a 20-point lead over her closest competitor, former city Comptroller and 2009 Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson, 32 percent to 12 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (10 percent), Comptroller John Liu (9 percent) and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (7 percent) also trail Quinn, with publisher Tom Allon earning just 1 percent of the vote. Nearly three-in-ten registered Democrats are undecided, the poll shows.
Quinn leads by a large margin among white voters, with 41 percent, to just 11 percent each for de Blasio and Stringer. She even holds a slight edge among African-American voters, leading Thompson by a statistically-insignificant three percentage points. Quinn also leads among Latino voters by 14 points.
Over the past few months, Quinn has sought to distance herself from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, previously seen as a political ally. Quinn last week called cuts in child-care and after-school programs sought by Bloomberg "unacceptable," and she notably sued the Bloomberg administration over its policy of asking New Yorkers seeking a bed in the city's homeless shelters to prove they had no other place to stay.
Thompson's 2013 campaign has failed to gain traction thus far. He was the subject of a New York Times
story earlier this month headlined, "Mayoral Hopeful's Slow Start Has Some Asking if His Heart Is in It
." For his part, Thompson says that if it seems that his campaign has been flying under the radar, it is because, as a retired elected official, he does not have the platform his competitors do.
"The difference between myself and some of the other people out there, I don't have elective office like they do right now," Thompson told Capital New York
, in a story published on Monday. "And I think that contributes to some of the perception."
For de Blasio and Liu, the challenges are different. De Blasio is one of four white candidates in the race, and while he was elected citywide in 2009, he does not share Quinn's profile. Liu, meanwhile, continues to be buffeted by ethics allegations. Investigators are still looking into his 2009 campaign, having already indicted his former treasurer. And now a Liu aide is seeking a state Senate seat while refusing to relinquish his nearly $200,000-a-year job in Liu's office -- prompting the New York Post
once again to call for Liu's immediate resignation in a Monday editorial.
Stringer's campaign sports a high-profile backer -- the glamorous actress Scarlett Johansson
-- but he shares a similar Manhattan base with Quinn. Despite the Stringer camp's boasts about trouncing Quinn in Manhattan -- reported in Sunday's Post
-- the speaker currently commands fully half of the vote there, five times Stringer's tally, according to the poll. (The Post
reported that intermediaries from the Quinn campaign have approached Stringer's people about running for comptroller instead, with Liu either vacating the position to run for mayor, declining to seek a second term or rendered vulnerable by the various scandals around him.)
The primary will be held in September. If no Democrat earns a majority of the vote, the top two candidates will advance to a runoff to be held three weeks later. In most citywide elections, the winner of the Democratic primary -- runoff or not -- is virtually assured to win the general election. But not for mayor; the last Democrat to win a mayor's race was David Dinkins, in 1989.
The elephant in Gracie Mansion remains Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
. The Post
has been beating the drum for a possible Kelly candidacy on the Republican Party ticket for more than a week. The commissioner has not closed the door to a possible mayoral run, though he has said he has "no plans to run for elected office." The Post's Albany bureau chief, Fred Dicker, reported Monday
that former state Republican Party chairman William Powers
was assembling a fundraising network that would allow a Kelly campaign to get a running start once he entered the race. Dicker reported that supermarket tycoon John Catsimatidis
, himself a rumored GOP candidate, was part of the effort to establish an organization for Kelly.
A Kelly candidacy would face some challenges, however. While Bloomberg enjoys fairly high approval ratings -- just 22 percent rate his performance as "poor," and a majority of voters think the city is on the right track -- more voters say a Bloomberg endorsement would make them less likely to vote for a mayoral candidate. Just 28 percent would be more likely to vote for a Bloomberg-endorsed candidate, while 42 percent would be less likely. Even among Republicans, only 36 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by Hizzoner. Among Democrats, 48 percent would be less likely to support the candidate Bloomberg endorses.
The NY1-Marist poll was conducted April 10-17, surveying 671 registered voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.8 percentage points. The poll includes interviews with 402 registered Democrats for their party's primary; that matchup carries a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percent.