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Poll: De Blasio Front-Runner In Mayoral Race For First Time

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is the new front-runner for the Democratic nomination for mayor, a Quinnipiac University poll out Tuesday finds.

De Blasio is the choice of 30 percent of likely Democratic voters, the poll found.

This is the first time de Blasio has topped a poll in this campaign. he has surged past former leader Christine Quinn. The City Council speaker is second with 24 percent.

"A few weeks ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio looked like an also-ran. Today, he's the leader of the pack, and a winner in the runoffs. Follow the bouncing ball, folks. This line-up keeps changing," Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll said in a news release.

LINK: Full Poll Results (pdf)

Ex-comptroller Bill Thompson is third at 22 percent. He was the party's 2009 nominee.

Poll: De Blasio Front-Runner In Mayoral Race For First Time

Former congressman Anthony Weiner is in fourth with 10 percent. He was near the top of every poll until his latest sexting scandal.

As CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday, the race to be the Democratic candidate for mayor has been see-saw from the start.

Some pundits said a recent de Blasio ad featuring his son, Dante, may have given him a boost.

Poll: De Blasio Front-Runner In Mayoral Race For First Time

It was only last week that de Blasio started airing a campaign ad featuring his 15-year-old son. The ad references de Blasio's interracial marriage, including pictures of the candidate and his wife.

Pundits said the de Blasio ad was geared to get support in the minority community, Kramer reported.

"I think from start to finish, every campaign strategist looking at this Democratic primary has got to say this is the crucial vote to get out there to win," Iona College political science professor Jeanne Zaino said.

The primary will be held on Sept. 10. If no candidate reaches 40 percent in the primary, the top two will advance to a runoff.

"If you look at the numbers, what it says is there will be a runoff. We just don't know who will be in it," Carroll told WCBS 880.

The poll also shows that in a Democratic primary runoff, de Blasio leads: 54-38 percent over Quinn; 50-41 percent over Thompson; 72-22 percent over Weiner.

In another possible runoff, Thompson leads Quinn 51-41 percent.

"This is essentially a dead heat among the top three candidates, but de Blasio's numbers have really surged since June, while the numbers for Billy Thompson, the numbers for Christine Quinn have stayed relatively stable -- within two or three points in any direction. So this is excellent news for Bill de Blasio," said David Birdsell, dean of the Baruch College School of Public Affairs.

However, Kramer noted that the race is still fluid.

Ad wars, new campaign revelations and even an unexpected development could change the face of the race, she reported.

That's because only 46 percent of Democratic likely primary voters say they definitely will vote for the candidate they backed in the poll, while 16 percent say they are unlikely to change their mind and 34 percent say they are likely to change their mind, according to the poll's findings. Only 38 percent of de Blasio supporters are definite, compared to 42 percent for Quinn and 54 percent for Thompson, the polling center said.

"Whether we are ahead in the polls or behind, Bill de Blasio's message has always been clear. He is the only Democrat who will 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," de Blasio's campaign manager said in a statement.

The poll also asked likely Democratic voters about two big issues impacting the city and the mayor.

Sixty percent of those polled said stop and frisk is excessive and harasses innocent people, while 31 percent say it is an acceptable way to make the city safer. Among those critical of stop and frisk, 34 percent back de Blasio, with 24 percent for Thompson and 22 percent for Quinn.

On Monday, a judge ruled that stop and frisk did violate the rights of the plaintiffs in the case, and ordered a federal independent monitor to oversee changes to the program.

Those polled support the creation of an inspector general to independently monitor the NYPD by a margin of 66-25 percent.

On the Republican side, the poll found that Joe Lhota has maintained his lead over billionaire businessman John Catsimatidis. Lhota has the backing of 43 percent of those polled, compared with 37 percent for Catsimatidis and 9 percent for George McDonald.

The poll surveyed 579 likely Democratic primary voters by phone from Aug. 7 to 12. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

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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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