New York City’s official public advocate Bill de Blasio has soared to first place in the polls in the city’s Democratic primary race for mayor as voters look forward to the first mayoral debate Tuesday night.
De Blasio holds 30 percent support, compared to 24 percent for City Council speaker Christine Quinn, 22 percent for comptroller Bill Thompson, and 10 percent for disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.
De Blasio holds 34 percent support among voters critical of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, which has recently come under fire and turned into a wedge issue in the race. Thompson only holds 24 percent support — and Quinn, 22 percent — among stop-and-frisk critics.
Self-described “progressive alternative” de Blasio has used the press to his advantage, scoring an endorsement from the once-influential magazine The Nation and giving a featured interview with The Huffington Post. De Blasio earned a Masters in international affairs from Columbia and worked as a City Hall aide before his election to represent parts of Brooklyn on the City Council in 2001. He was elected to the largely ceremonial position of public advocate in 2009. For what it’s worth, de Blasio also has the support of pugnacious New York celebrity Alec Baldwin.
Since none of the candidates are expected get the 40 percent of the vote necessary in the Sept. 10 primary to avoid a runoff, the top two primary finishers will go head-to-head in November. Observers have been predicting a match between Quinn, who is angling to become the city’s first lesbian mayor, and Thompson, an African-American in a city where blacks comprise 30 percent of the electorate, making de Blasio’s sudden leap to the top of the polls a marked surprise.
Weiner was the front-runner until new revelations that he carried on a sexting affair with a woman named Sydney Leathers, who went on to star in a solo pornographic film for Vivid Entertainment. As Weiner faded in the polls, Quinn appeared on MSNBC with the endorsement of women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke.
With candidates entering the debates and beginning to air television commercials, only Weiner is so thoroughly distrusted that 51 percent of New Yorkers said that they would “definitely” not vote for him “under any circumstances.”