Poll: Yang Lead in NYC Mayoral Race Narrowing, Half of Voters Undecided

NEW YORK -
new york city mayoral poll
New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang speaks at an event against anti-Asian hate crimes last week. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

A new poll shows the New York City mayoral race wide open less than three months before the June 22 primary election, with Andrew Yang leading Eric Adams by six points but 50% of voters undecided.

The poll, released Wednesday by Fontas Advisors and Core Decision Analytics, shows Yang, an entrepreneur whose only political experience is a presidential run in 2020, would receive the first-place vote of 16% of likely Democratic Primary voters, in the first mayoral primary that will use the new ranked-choice voting system. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams comes in second with 10%, followed by Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, with 6%, city Comptroller Scott Stringer with 5%, and former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire at 4%.

Three candidates had 2% support: Shaun Donovan, formerly a HUD Secretary, Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development; former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia; and nonprofit executive Dianna Morales.

In addition to these eight leading candidates, poll respondents could support “Someone Else,” which 1% chose. And 50% of respondents said they were still undecided.

The poll was conducted among 800 likely Democratic Primary voters, by landline and cell phone, from March 15-18, with an error margin of +/-3.46%.

The new poll shows a race that is tightening, with many more voters undecided than in previous surveys.

A prior poll by Fontas/Core Decision, conducted online in late January and released last month, showed Yang with 28% of first-place votes, followed by 17% for Adams, 13% for Stringer, Wiley and Donovan with 8% each, and Garcia, McGuire and Morales with 2% each. Only 19% of voters in that poll were undecided.

new york city mayoral poll
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Another poll, released earlier this month by WPIX-TV/NewsNation/Emerson College, had Yang at 32%, Adams at 19%, Wiley at 9%, Stringer at 6%, Garcia at 5%, Morales and Donovan at 4% each, and McGuire at 3%. In that poll, which had 13 possible candidates for respondents to choose from, a total of 17% chose “someone else” or were undecided.

That WPIX poll as well as the new Fontas poll show Stringer, once believed to be a leading candidate, in fourth place with single-digit support. Asked by Hamodia (in an interview conducted shortly before release of Wednesday’s Fontas poll) about his poor performance in the WPIX poll, Stringer replied, “A poll today usually doesn’t mean that’s going to be the outcome of a mayoral election, when you look at the history of mayoral elections,” and, “I’m very happy where we are in the campaign, and feel very strong and very confident.”

Following release of the Fontas poll Wednesday, the Yang campaign announced results of its own poll conducted by Slingshot Strategies, which showed Yang having 25% of first-place support, followed by Adams at 15%, Stringer at 12%, Wiley at 8%, Garcia at 6%, McGuire and Donovan at 4% each, and Morales and Councilman Carlos Menchaca with 2%. (Later Wednesday, Menchaca announced he is dropping out of the race). One percent of voters chose another candidate, and 18% were undecided. The Sligshot Strategies poll was conducted March 12-18, with 1,000 likely Democratic Primary voters.

“The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day,” Yang campaign manager Chris Coffey told Hamodia on Wednesday, “but we are proud of multiple polls showing us out front. Andrew Yang is looking forward to the final 90 days ahead and continuing to talk about safe streets, job creation and getting the city open quickly and safely.”

The new Fontas poll shows Yang having a clear lead in the battle for name recognition, with 85% of respondents saying they have heard of him, with Stringer at 64% and Adams 62%. These numbers closely track the previous Fontas poll.

Donovan has 44% name recognition (11 points higher than the previous Fontas poll), Wiley has 42% (a 9-point increase) and McGure is at 38% (a 13-point increase). Fewer than one in three respondents said they’ve heard of Garcia or Morales.

Only 15% of respondents said they had heard “a lot” about the ranked-choice voting system; 23% said they had heard “some,” 19% “just a little,” and 41% said they had heard “nothing at all.” In the previous Fontas poll, 12% of respondents said they had heard “a lot” about ranked-choice voting; 29% “some”; 24% “not much”; and 34% “nothing at all.”

Under the ranked-choice system, voters rank their top five candidates in order. If one candidate receives more than 50% of first place votes, he or she is the winner. If no candidate receives more than 50% of first place votes, counting continues in rounds: in each round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated. If a voter’s top-ranked candidate is eliminated, that voter’s vote then goes to the next-highest-ranked candidate on the voter’s ballot. The process continues until there are only two candidates left, and the candidate with the most votes wins. Further info on ranked choice voting is available at http://nyccfb.info/nyc-votes/ranked-choice-voting/

rborchardt@hamodia.com


Updated Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 6:20 pm .