NEW YORK CITY — Public Advocate Bill de Blasio continued to grow his lead in the polls Wednesday, edging closer to the magic 40 percent threshold that would keep him out of a runoff, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
De Blasio was backed by 36 percent of the likely Democratic primary voters polled, up six points over his standing just a few weeks ago. Long-time frontrunner Council Speaker Christine Quinn continued to fall further behind de Blasio, dropping three points to 21 percent, which put her in a statistical tie for second with former comptroller Bill Thompson who was at 20 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
“Talk about breaking out of the pack!” said Maurice Carroll, the director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. “De Blasio takes a big lead into the final turn. Let’s see how he does in the home stretch.”
De Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers crowed about the poll Wednesday, saying "voters are responding to Bill de Blasio because he is the only Democrat who will boldly break from the Bloomberg years by raising taxes on the wealthy to invest in universal pre-K and after-school programs, ending racial profiling, and fighting to save community hospitals."
But Quinn campaign spokesman Mike Morey said “The polling in this race has been topsy-turvy for months. We expect a tight race and we expect that on primary night Christine Quinn will be in a runoff, because New Yorkers want an effective progressive who can actually get things done.”
According to the poll, de Blasio’s continued surge could be attributable to his ability to capture a majority of the votes from African-Americans and women — two key demographics Thompson and Quinn need to make gains in if they hope to win.
De Blasio is also helped by the perception among voters that he’s the most liberal candidate in the race, according to Carroll. Sixty-five percent of Democratic primary voters polled saying they wanted a break from 12 years of Mayor Michael Bloomberg as helping push de Blasio’s numbers higher, as many voters see Quinn as too closely aligned with the administration, Carroll said.
“Voters seem to be getting bored with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Almost two thirds want a new direction by the next mayor,” Carroll said.
Both city comptroller John Liu and former congressman Anthony Weiner polled less than 10 percent, according to Quinnipiac.
The poll of 602 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted between August 22 and 27 over landlines and cell phones.