NEW YORK CITY — For as long as there have been polls in the 2013 mayor’s race, former city comptroller Bill Thompson has been struggling to break through.
But more surprising is his standing with a group that political observers have considered both a natural fit and a much-needed base if Thompson, the only black candidate in the race, is to have a chance in the September primary: black voters.
Looking at the latest poll, this one from Quinnipiac University, Thompson continues to struggle with black voters with less than two months to go before the primary.
Among those surveyed, only 14 percent of black voters said they supported Thompson for mayor—that’s less than half those who indicated disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner as their first choice, and putting Thompson in third place with black voters behind Weiner and Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Even more of a concern for the Thompson campaign might be the fact that a significant number—40 percent—of black voters surveyed by Quinnipiac said they hadn’t heard enough about Thompson to form an opinion.
Thompson addressed the poll results Tuesday during a press conference in East Harlem where he was surrounded by black and Latino elected officials supporting his campaign.
“I’ve never done well in their polls,” Thompson said, noting the gap between his election night returns and what the polls were saying in 2009, when he was the Democratic mayoral nominee running against Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Those polls have been horribly inaccurate; they tend to under measure and it isn’t accurate when it comes to black and Latino voters,” he said. “They really continue to miss the point time and time again.”
Former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, who took on Bloomberg in 2005, was there to lend his official support for Thompson. Based on his own experience, he cautioned people not to read too much into the polls.
“Things tighten up in August. They get really serious after Labor Day, and that's what New Yorkers have come to expect,” he said.
When asked to address why so many black voters simply don’t know enough about him, Thompson said over the next two months voters will become a lot more familiar with who he is once television, radio and other ads start rolling out.
“I’m not worried,” he said.