If there was any question that Bill de Blasio is the mayoral race’s new front-runner, there isn’t any more.
A new poll conducted by Quinnipiac University has the city’s public advocate with 36 percent of the likely Democratic vote, placing him within reaching distance of avoiding a widely-expected runoff election.
The two other leading Democratic candidates, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, posted 21 and 20 percent respectively. Former Congressman Anthony Weiner earned just 8 percent, while current Comptroller John Liu trailed with 6 percent.
“Talk about breaking out of the pack!” pollster Maurice Carroll said in a statement acknowledging Mr. de Blasio’s quick rise. “Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, in fourth place just five weeks ago, is edging up on the magic 40 percent needed to avoid a Democratic primary runoff. And if there is a runoff, he clobbers Council Speaker Christine Quinn or former Comptroller and 2009 Democratic challenger William Thompson.”
If the numbers mirror the candidates’ internal polling, they help explain the increasingly negative tone of the race, which has featured frequent shots at Mr. de Blasio in recent weeks.
Mr. de Blasio’s rise seems to be bolstered by a general frustration with the way the city has been run under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sixty-five percent of likely Democratic voters said they believe the city needs to take a new direction, and far more said they’re looking for “a strong leader” who understands their problems, as opposed to someone with “the right experience” or “new ideas.”
Mr. de Blasio also blows away the competition in a theoretical run-off, according to the poll, beating Ms. Quinn 59-30 and Mr. Thompson 52-36. If the race came down to Mr. Thompson and Ms. Quinn, Mr. Thompson would best Ms. Quinn 57-33.
Additional reporting by Jill Colvin.
View the full results below: