A new poll released Wednesday confirms that New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is nearing the critical 40-percent mark in this September's Democratic mayoral primary, the threshold for avoiding a runoff with the second-place finisher.
The Quinnipiac University poll shows Quinn with 37 percent of the vote, within the margin of error of the 40-percent target. The real race at this point is for second place. Currently, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (14 percent) has a statistically insignificant lead over 2009 Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson (11 percent) and scandal-plagued Comptroller John Liu (9 percent).
A NY1-Marist poll conducted earlier this month also showed Quinn at 37 percent in the Democratic primary.
Quinn's primary vote share has inched up steadily in Quinnipiac's polls over the last year. In early May of last year, she was at 26 percent in the primary, and her vote share has increased 2 or 3 points in each of the four polls since. Though each of those increases taken separately is not statistically significant, the trend line is evident.
Quinn "is edging up toward that magic 40 percent that would make her the Democratic nominee without a primary runoff," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute director Mickey Carroll.
White voters favor Quinn over de Blasio, 45 percent to 17 percent, the poll shows. But Quinn also leads among black voters, outdistancing Thompson, the only black candidate in the race, 28 percent to 16 percent. Quinn also leads Thompson among Hispanic Democrats, 30 percent to 14 percent.
The poll also shows Quinn -- or whoever emerges as the Democratic nominee -- well-positioned to break the party's five-election losing streak. Quinn would lead former MTA Chairman Joe Lhota, who is running for the Republican nomination, by 44 points. Even the embattled Liu leads Lhota by 31 points. Roughly two-thirds of voters don't know enough about Lhota to form an opinion.
The poll did not test former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión. Carrión is running on the Independence Party line, and he is vying for the Republican line, as well. In order to participate in the Republican primary as a registered independent, Carrión needs the permission of three of the city's five county GOP chairpersons.
But the poll does show extremely limited name-ID for Carrión, who officially launched his campaign on Tuesday: As more than four-in-five voters say they haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion.
The poll was conducted Feb. 20-25, surveying 1,017 registered voters. The margin of error for the full poll is plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points. For the subsample of 655 Democrats, the margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.8 percentage points.