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Poll: De Blasio Takes 23-Point Lead, Could Avoid Runoff

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has surged to a commanding lead with just a week to go before the Democratic mayoral primary, a new poll released Tuesday finds.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters shows de Blasio at 43 percent, which would be enough to avoid a runoff election.

His closest competitor, Bill Thompson, comes in with 20 percent of the vote with Christine Quinn close behind at 18 percent.

Poll: De Blasio Takes 23-Point Lead, Could Avoid Runoff

As CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported, the mantra on the campaign trail has become "Kill Bill" -- stop Bill de Blasio's Democratic mayoral juggernaut.

De Blasio has extended his lead in just the past week; a Quinnipiac poll from Aug. 28 showed de Blasio at 36 percent, with 21 percent for Quinn, 20 percent for Thompson.

WEB EXTRA: Full Poll Results (pdf)

Poll: De Blasio Takes 23-Point Lead, Could Avoid Runoff

"Can Public Advocate Bill de Blasio keep his surge going for seven more days? If he does, his first contribution could be to the New York City budget -- saving the expense of a run-off election," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Dante's big Afro is the campaign image everyone remembers. What a TV commercial! What a boost with everyone who has kids!  What a plus in the black community!"

De Blasio featured his interracial family and his son in a campaign ad and has been an outspoken critic of the current implementation of the stop-and-frisk.

A candidate would have to win 40 percent of the vote on Sept. 10 to avoid a two-candidate runoff three weeks later.

If there is a Democratic primary runoff, the poll found the matchups are:

  • De Blasio over Quinn 66-25 percent;
  • De Blasio leads Thompson 56-36 percent;
  • Thompson tops Quinn 59-33 percent.

The poll found just 7 percent of likely voters support former congressman Anthony Weiner and 4 percent back City Comptroller John Liu.

Weiner led the race for several weeks in June until his support collapsed in the wake of his latest sexting scandal. Two of Liu's staffers were convicted of misusing campaign funds, though the candidate was never charged with wrongdoing.

Quinn is being hurt by the fact that so far, she hasn't cashed in as the only woman in the race, Kramer reported.

Among women, the poll shows de Blasio 44 percent of the vote, Thompson with 19 percent and Quinn garnering support from 18 percent of those surveyed.

Another key factor is the vote in the black community. Thompson is the only black candidate in the race.

Pundits expect minorities will be 30 percent of the primary turnout, Kramer reported.

The poll shows that among blacks, de Blasio has the support of 47 percent of those surveyed, compared with 25 percent for Thompson and 6 percent for Quinn.

Shortly after the poll was released, de Blasio's campaign released the following statement:

"New Yorkers are responding to Bill de Blasio's bold progressive vision to break from the Bloomberg years and end the Tale of Two Cities that we're living. Tonight, you will see one candidate offer bold progressive ideas, while the others desperately try to tear him down by distorting his record."

Former Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Joseph Lhota has 48 percent of likely Republican primary voters, with 24 percent for businessman John Catsimatidis and 10 percent for Doe Fund founder George McDonald.

"With his liberal platform, de Blasio would be a tempting target for Joseph Lhota and the Republicans, if the race works out that way," Carroll said.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 750 likely Democratic primary voters by telephone from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percentage points. Quinnipiac also interviewed 101 likely Republican primary voters by phone during the same time period, with a margin of error of +/- 9.8 percentage points.

Meantime, the Democratic candidates for New York City mayor squared off Tuesday night in the final debate exactly one week before the primary.

The unpredictable campaign, which has featured three different front-runners in as many months, will go into the home stretch with a clear dynamic: de Blasio has maintained his lead, and the other candidates are fighting for the second spot in a likely runoff.

Democratic Mayoral Hopefuls Continue Attacks Ahead Of Final Debate

Quinn and Thompson are within a point or two of each other for that second slot, according to recent polls. They are both far behind de Blasio, yet they have trained the majority of their recent attacks, including at the last debate, on him and not on each other.

Democratic Mayoral Hopefuls Continue Attacks Ahead Of Final Debate

Quinn was on the attack again Tuesday, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported. She was critical of the public advocate's acceptance of campaign contributions from owners on his Worst Landlords list.

"It appears Bill de Blasio's Worst Landlord list was really just a fundraising list," Quinn said on Tuesday. "It leaves a clear question of who was he fighting for and what was this list really about."

Eye On Politics: Previewing Tuesday Nights' Democratic Debate

"He raise roughly $54,000 from bad landlords who had been on his Worst Landlords list," said Quinn. "Once again, Bill de Blasio says one thing and does another. He says he was fighting for the little guy, fighting for tenants and then he went off and turned to the so-called bad guys, the slumlords, for campaign contributions."

But the de Blasio campaign calls that representation distorted and added two of the landlords on the list contributed to the Quinn campaign, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

Christine Quinn attacks Bill de Blasio over campaign donors
Christine Quinn attacks Bill de Blasio over campaign donors (credit: Juliet Papa/1010 WINS)

The front-runner had an empty campaign schedule Tuesday, likely to give him time to prepare against attacks in the debate, Silverman reported.

At an event in southeast Queens on Tuesday, Thompson did his best to stay out of the back and forth, Silverman reported.

"If you notice at our press conferences, I continue to talk about issues," said Thompson.

The Queens event was aimed at an effort to raise the age that the state views non-violent offenders as adults.

"New York is only one of two states in America where 16-year-olds who commit non-violent crimes are tried as adults," said Thompson.

The former comptroller added while he'd like to see a positive tone at the debate, he won't let his challengers get away with half-truths or misinformation.

"[If] there are discrepancies, if they flip-flop, if they're saying one thing while doing another, I'll make a point of bringing that up also," said Thompson.

The debate will also feature Weiner and Liu, who each have seen their candidacies dogged by scandal.

The general election is Nov. 5.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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