With a consistent progressive message declaring himself the sole candidate to make a complete break with the Bloomberg era, Bill de Blasio soared from the low double digits he was mired in throughout the mayoral race to become the new frontrunner in the Democratic primary.
A stunning new Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday finds the city’s public advocate the choice of 30 percent of likely Democratic voters, the first time de Blasio has topped a poll. He surges past former leader Christine Quinn, the council speaker, who comes in second with 24 percent.
Ex-comptroller Bill Thompson is third at 22 percent and former Rep. Anthony Weiner continues his plummet from front-running status to fourth, at 10 percent. Fifty-one percent of Democrats say they would not vote for Weiner under any circumstances — the highest negative of the field.
The “NYC race takes another interesting turn,” marveled David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s chief campaign chief. “Not long ago, pundits forecast [a] Quinn-Weiner runoff. Could turn out to be de Blasio and Thompson!”
The survey finds that while both men and women are split fairly evenly among the candidates, Thompson’s support appears to come primarily from minority voters. While 39 percent of African-Americans said they were voting for Thompson (compared to 22 percent for de Blasio and 18 for Quinn) only 12 percent of white Democrats supported his candidacy. White voters go 39 percent for de Blasio and 31 percent for Quinn.
“A few weeks ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio looked like an also-ran,” said Maurice Carroll, director of Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute. “Today, he’s the leader of the pack, and a winner in the runoffs. Follow the bouncing ball, folks. This line-up keeps changing.”
Even better for de Blasio are his odds in a likely runoff, if no candidate gets 40 percent in the Sept. 10 primary. He would beat Quinn 54 to 38 percent, Thompson by 50 to 41 percent, and a whopping 72 to 22 percent if Weiner makes it to the runoff.
De Blasio’s campaign insisted that the newfound recognition comes from his fight to save two Brooklyn hospitals — he was arrested at a sit-in strike last month — and his liberal message.
“Whether we are ahead in the polls or behind,” Bill Hyers, de Blasio’s campaign manager said in a statement, “Bill de Blasio’s message has always been clear: He is the only Democrat who will break from the Bloomberg years by raising taxes on the wealthy to invest in universal pre-K and after-school programs, ending racial profiling, and fighting to save community hospitals.”
In recent weeks, de Blasio, a former city councilman who represented parts of Boro Park, has amplified his strident leftism by calling New York a “tale of two cities,” and touting endorsements by liberal financier George Soros, The Nation, a magazine formerly associated with Communist Party USA, and articles in the national press holding him up a new kind of progressive.
In the Republican primary, former city transit chief Joseph Lhota leads his billionaire opponent, John Catsimatidis by a narrow 43 to 37 percent.