NEW YORK CITY — It's bad news for Republicans still scrambling for a viable candidate for mayor.
Lhota, a former deputy mayor who took over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last November, hasn't said he's interested in vying for Gracie Mansion. But he's been the subject of intense political speculation ever since Hurricane Sandy, thanks to his widely praised performance getting the subways back up and running.
The poll showed a similar challenge for former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr., who recently left the Democratic party to mount a run as a Republican.
If Carrion were to run on the Republican ticket today, he would lose to an unnamed Democrat 62 percent to 11 percent, according to the poll.
“Politics buffs are talking about MTA Chair Joseph Lhota and former Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion as possible Republican contenders for the West Wing at City Hall, but the public hasn't caught up with the pundits,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
As of now, “Lhota and Carrion lose big to a generic Democrat," he said.
The poll also showed that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn remains the leading early Democratic contender for mayor going into 2013.
The speaker received a commanding 32 percent of the vote in a theoretical Democratic primary — more than her leading rivals combined.
“City Council Speaker Christine Quinn leaves the other Democratic contenders in the dust," Carroll said.
The poll was conducted before Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer dropped out of the mayoral race Sunday and announced he'd run for comptroller.
The poll also found that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly continues to enjoy the highest approval rating of any major official in the city, with 68 percent of voters giving him a thumbs-up for the job he’s doing as commissioner.
The poll of 1,165 registered voters, conducted from Nov. 14 - 18, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.