New York Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who wants to tax the wealthy to pay for pre-kindergarten classes, widened his lead among seven Democrats seeking the party’s mayoral nomination, a Quinnipiac University poll showed.
Thirteen days before the primary election, de Blasio was favored by 36 percent of likely voters, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 21 percent and former City Comptroller William Thompson with 20 percent, according to the survey released today. An Aug. 13 poll showed de Blasio with 30 percent, Quinn at 24 percent and Thompson with 22 percent.
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the city by more than 6 to 1. If no candidate gets 40 percent in the primary, the top two finishers in each party will compete in an Oct. 1 runoff.
“De Blasio, in fourth place just five weeks ago, is edging up on the magic 40 percent,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Connecticut-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Let’s see how he does in the home stretch.”
The survey is based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 22 to Aug. 27, a period before, during and after a week in which Quinn, 47, won endorsements from the New York Times, the New York Post and the Daily News.
De Blasio, 52, was elected citywide as public advocate, a watchdog post, in 2009 after two-terms representing a Brooklyn district in the City Council. The job involves responding to citizen complaints and recommending improvements to government services, according to the office website.
He has proposed increasing the city’s tax on income above $500,000 to raise $532 million to pay for all-day pre-kindergarten and adolescent after-school activities. The measure would have to be approved by the state legislature, where members stand for re-election next year.
De Blasio has also highlighted his opposition to police stop-and-frisk tactics, which affect mostly young black and Latino men. He received 34 percent support from black voters, compared with 25 percent for Thompson, the only black candidate, and 15 percent for Quinn.
De Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, is a frequent companion at campaign events. In a television commercial, their 15-year-old son, Dante, sporting a large Afro, praises his father as the candidate most likely to rein in police stop-and-frisk practices.
The tactics were ruled unconstitutional Aug. 12 by U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin, who appointed an independent monitor to oversee the department’s use of the practice and ensure it doesn’t unlawfully target minority citizens. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has appealed the ruling.
Of the other candidates in the race, 8 percent supported former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner; 6 percent backed Comptroller John Liu; and 1 percent former Council member Sal Albanese. Eight percent said they were undecided.
De Blasio led Quinn in a possible runoff, 59 percent to 30 percent. He also topped Thompson 52 percent to 36 percent, according to the poll. Thompson, 60, the party’s candidate for mayor in 2009, lost to Bloomberg by about 4.3 percentage points. Thompson would beat Quinn in a runoff 57 percent to 33 percent, the poll reported.
The mayor, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is barred by law from seeking a fourth term.
The survey of 602 likely Democratic voters, from Aug. 22 to 27, had a 4 percentage-point margin of error.