The turbulent race to lead the country’s biggest city hit another unexpected bump Tuesday.
The contest has a new leader; the early front-runner appears to be in serious jeopardy; and the man who has gobbled up most of the attention -- sext-scandal-plagued former congressman Anthony Weiner -- is fading fast.
On the eve of the first of three debates to run New York City, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has vaulted ahead in the Democratic primary, pulling in 30 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn -- who led the polls for much of the race -- is running second with 24 percent. Nipping at Quinn’s heels is former Comptroller Bill Thompson at 22 percent.
Weiner, who flirted briefly with the lead in the race, gets just 10 percent and is in fourth place. Weiner has seen his standing collapse in the past month after it was revealed that he continued to have sexually explicit online conversations with women who weren’t his wife even after resigned from Congress in 2011.
In the poll, 51 percent now say they definitely won't vote for Weiner under any circumstances, and 58 percent say he has either has little or no moral character.
If no candidate reaches 40 percent in the Sept. 10th primary, the top-two finishers move on to an Oct. 1 runoff.
De Blasio’s move in the race has been swift, as he appears to have benefited the most from Weiner’s collapse. Just a month ago, de Blasio was at 10 percent, and then, in conjunction with Weiner's fall, surged to 21 percent two weeks ago.
Quinn looks to be in serious trouble. In a hypothetical runoff matchup, she trails both de Blasio and Thompson by double digits. De Blasio leads Quinn in a runoff by a whopping 54-38 percent margin. Thompson leads her 51-41 percent.
There has been a considerable Anybody But Quinn campaign with TV ads running citywide, painting her as a typical politician tied to the “1 percent” and incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Quinn’s stagnation means she has the most at stake in the trio of debates, beginning tonight. No one more needs to change the trajectory of the race than she does.
Unless something changes, the race looks like it is coming down de Blasio and Thompson, either in a runoff against each other or one of them against -- and likely over -- Quinn in one.
There is also a stark racial divide in the poll. Thompson, who is African American, leads among black voters 39-22 over de Blasio. But, among whites, de Blasio has a sizable lead. De Blasio takes in 39 percent of whites, while Thompson gets just 12 percent.