At the end of the day, though, any of the top three candidates can advance. I went through the polling that I could find since 1989, and I can't find a single poll this late in the mayoral primary campaign when the leading candidate had less than 26% and certainly not less than 20%. There simply is no precedence for this in the past 30 years.
Indeed, the only race I can ever remember that shares the slightest resemblance to this one is 1977. That race featured Democrats Bella Abzug, Herman Badillo, Abe Beame, Mario Cuomo, Ed Koch and Percy Sutton. Abzug was thought of as a favorite with Beame close behind. Polling in that race had Abzug leading with right around 20% until mid-August. Then Koch "surged" forward to win the first round with less than 20% with Cuomo close behind, while none of the six earned less than 10%.
The lesson from that campaign that should be applied to this one is that when the candidates are polling so poorly and close to each other anything can happen. I wouldn't even count out Bill de Blasio who is lurking with 10%. If you buy the Quinnipiac poll, he's less than 10pt back. With two months to go and most voters not tuned into the race yet, it could be 1977 with someone we wouldn't think of coming from behind. I don't expect it, but in this race expect the unexpected.
Read the whole Enten piece. He gives some good reasons for why Quinn's support has cratered, why Weiner has picked up support and why Thompson may have stealth support not being counted in the public polling.
I still think de Blasio has to make some move to set himself apart from the rest of the field right now, before the summer gets really going.
But if nothing else, it is good news that the race is this wide open.
Remember that back in February, just four months ago, Quinn was the presumptive frontrunner who had never trailed in any poll and was approaching the 40% threshold to get her over the runoff hump.
That changed fast, didn't it?