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Bill De Blasio Opens Huge Lead Over Joe Lhota In Quinnipiac Mayoral Poll

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Democrat Bill de Blasio has a commanding lead in the New York City mayoral race, a new poll shows, but Republican Joe Lhota says he's not panicking.

In a Quinnipiac University poll, de Blasio, the city's public advocate, leads Lhota, a former deputy mayor and ex-MTA chief, 66 to 25 percent among likely voters.

De Blasio leads with support from 52 percent of white voters polled, 90 percent of black voters and 68 percent of Hispanics.

De Blasio Opens Huge Lead Over Lhota In Quinnipiac Mayoral Poll

"The same kind of a coalition that nominated him, he's put together here in the general (election)," Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told WCBS 880's Rich Lamb. "It's a tremendous racial gap, if you will."

Lhota downplayed the numbers.

"These are early polls," he said. "I expected to be in this position. I'm not worried. I love being in the underdog position. It gives me an opportunity to do all the things that I want to do. I won't be defending a position. I will be on offense the whole time."

Quinnipiac also found that 32 percent of voters said they do not know enough about Lhota to make a decision about him.

"Joe Lhota has to get known if he wants a real election," Carroll told 1010 WINS' Stan Brooks.

The poll of 891 likely voters was conducted Wednesday and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

Lhota  is challenging de Blasio to hold five debates, one in each borough, instead of just two in Manhattan. The city's campaign finance board is sponsoring two official debates, both scheduled to be held in Manhattan in late October.

De Blasio Opens Huge Lead Over Lhota In Quinnipiac Mayoral Poll

"We have two very, very different philosophies," Lhota said. "It's going to be very interesting for the public to see the contrasting point of views."

The de Blasio campaign did not immediately respond to Lhota's request.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

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