Democrats have been shut out of Gracie Mansion since Rudy Giuliani defeated David Dinkins in 1993, but a new poll released early Wednesday shows the party with a built-in advantage in next year's mayoral race, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn the heavy favorite to become the Democratic nominee.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows Quinn is the choice of 32 percent of registered Democrats, greater than the other four top candidates combined -- and one of those candidates withdrew from the race after the poll was conducted. The 2009 Democratic nominee, former city Comptroller Bill Thompson, is second, with 10 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is third, at 9 percent, and embattled Comptroller John Liu is fourth, with 5 percent. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who announced Sunday that he would run to succeed Liu as comptroller, drew 4 percent.
"Quinn leaves the other Democratic contenders in the dust," said Mickey Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac poll.
Quinn's popularity is overwhelming: 65 percent of all voters approve of the way she is handling her job as speaker, while only 18 percent disapprove. That represents a bump from the summer, when 56 percent approved of her job performance.
Meanwhile, former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión, who served in the Obama administration, has been floating a mayoral bid on the Republican line. But the poll shows Carrión badly trailing a generic Democrat, 62 percent to 11 percent.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota has received high marks for his handling of post-Tropical Storm Sandy, leading some to suggest he could mount a challenge on the GOP line. The poll shows him behind a generic Democrat by the same margin, however, 60 percent to 9 percent.
The poll was conducted Nov. 14-18, surveying 1,165 registered voters. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.9 percentage points.