De Blasio Extends Lead to 50 Points in New York Mayor Race

Bill de Blasio, seeking to become the first Democratic mayor of New York in two decades, widened his lead over Republican Joseph Lhota to 50 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

The survey found de Blasio leading Lhota 71 percent to 21 percent among likely voters. Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion, a former Democratic Bronx Borough president, received 2 percent, with 5 percent undecided. In a Quinnipiac poll released Sept. 19, de Blasio led Lhota 66 percent to 25 percent.

De Blasio, whose wife is black, is capturing 90 percent of the black vote and 79 percent of Hispanics. Blacks, Hispanics and Asians have outnumbered whites in New York since the 1980s, and the trend increased through the 2010 Census.

“It’s a new city demographically, and de Blasio captures it,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Poughkeepsie, New York-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “His primary-election coalition, with huge support among black and Hispanic voters, holds.”

De Blasio, 52, a former city councilman elected to the watchdog post of public advocate in 2009, won the Democratic nomination in a Sept. 10 primary among seven candidates. He campaigned against economic inequality and promised to pay for universal pre-kindergarten classes by taxing the rich. Democrats outnumber Republicans in New York by more than 6 to 1.

Poll Reaction

“Many, many people across the partisan spectrum want an honest discussion of these issues and they want to find out what we can do to make this city a city of opportunity again,” de Blasio said today on 1010 WINS radio. “That’s where I think the support is coming from.”

Lhota, 58, a top aide to former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani who led the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for a year ending in December, says de Blasio would hurt the economy with his tax plan and risk increased crime by restricting police practices in minority neighborhoods.

“Polls go up and polls go down,” Jessica Proud, his spokeswoman, said today in a statement. “We are on TV with our first ad of the general election and we remain confident that once New Yorkers learn more, they will choose Joe Lhota.”

Sandinista Attack

In the past two weeks, Lhota criticized de Blasio for supporting Nicaragua’s Sandinista party and taking a honeymoon in Cuba in the 1980s, after the New York Times reported those details. The Times also quoted de Blasio as saying in 1990 that he was an advocate of “democratic socialism.”

“The flurry of negative headlines,” Carroll said, “don’t seem to have any effect.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 71, will leave office Dec. 31 after three four-year terms. Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is barred from seeking another term.

The survey, based on telephone interviews with 1,198 likely voters, was conducted Sept. 25 to Oct. 1. It had a 2.8 percentage-point error margin, the institute said.

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