Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, July 26, 2013

Where The Mayoral Race Now Stands

Let's assume that Christine Quinn is back in front, with yesterday's Marist poll showing her regaining the lead over scandal-scarred Anthony Weiner, but that her frontrunner status is fluid.

Even though the primary is just 45 days away, we're still early in the race and Quinn and Weiner were both leading the pack based on name recognition and notoriety as much as anything else.

Let's also assume that Weiner is going to continue to lose support as the days go on.

Weiner's had a brutal week in the press, the Marist poll already shows a huge drop in his support, and with more sexting revelations almost certain to come, it's difficult to see how Weiner doesn't continue to hemorrhage support and fall into near irrelevancy in the race.

He has no institutional support, no union support, barely has an organization and even without this latest sexting scandal redux would have had a difficult time placing in the runoff.

Post revelations he has no chance at all.

His name will remain on the ballot even if he drops out and he will still garner some support on Primary Day, but for all practical purposes Weiner's in the rear view mirror in this race - unless something changes drastically in the next 6 weeks, Weiner's going to be polling in the single digits come Primary Day.

Comptroller John Liu, himself scarred by scandal, has never polled in double digits and is not a contender for the race.

That leaves Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Bill Thompson, former comptroller, as the serious contenders for the nomination.

Indeed, that's just what the Marist LV model released yesterday showed, with Quinn leading the pack, de Blasio in second and Thompson in fourth, one point behind Weiner.

Azi Paybarah makes the argument that Thompson, ever the stealth candidate, has the most growth potential as measured by the Marist poll:

We haven't heard much about Bill Thompson (or anyone else, for that matter) since the unmasking of Carlos Danger earlier this week.

But as I wrote earlier about the former comptroller, before a recent poll showing him winning handily in hypothetical run-offs against his leading rivals and before Weiner's latest debacle, there's good reason to believe that Thompson's potential support isn't being reflected by the top-line numbers in the polls.

My guess is that Thompson, who is likeable without being the least bit exciting, will continue to plod along for a while longer without receiving more than a modest share of attention or (with the honorable exception, naturally, of Wayne Barrett) scrutiny. For now, as this video from a brief scrum outside a mayoral forum in Jackson Heights last night illustrates, Weiner seems capable of guaranteeing that much single-handedly, as his candidacy continues to play out like some combination of catch-penny reality show and B-horror movie. The Weiner Show is "bad for democracy," maybe, but good for ratings.

Meanwhile, yesterday's NBC 4 New York / Wall Street Journal / Marist poll had Thompson tied with Bill de Blasio among registered voters in the primary, and two points behind de Blasio among "likely voters." Another modest showing.

But the cross-tabs suggest there's a lot of room for Thompson to advance. According to the poll, Thompson has only 23 percent of support among black voters, and five percent among Latino voters. He'll almost certainly outperform percentages like those, significantly.

It wouldn't be the first time.

I found it interesting that de Blasio showed movement in a public poll for the first time when Marist was released yesterday.

Up until now, de Blasio had been mostly polling at 10% or 11% and had shown no ability to cut through the crowd and move up in any of the polls.

One poll does not convince me he really has a shot at making the runoff, but he will benefit from Weiner's loss of support.

But so will Thompson - blacks have been supporting Weiner in large numbers, but as they fall away from supporting Weiner, it's probable they will move to Thompson.

Quinn, for all the noise in yesterday's poll (and an earlier NY Times poll showing her in the lead), has a ceiling of support that, while not as defined as Weiner's, is nonetheless quite solid.

After all, this is still a candidate with a dedicated cadre of protesters who follow her around the city at her appearances.

This is still a candidate who embargoes her campaign appearances so as not to be followed around by her dedicated cadre of protesters.

And this is still a candidate who betrayed voters by enabling Bloomberg's third term fraud, an act of political expediency that still sticks in many a craw among Democrats in the city.

So where does this leave us in late July, with the heavy ad season upon us?

It seems to me that, barring unforseen circumstances (and given the craziness of this campaign season, there is no way we can do that), Quinn and Thompson should be considered the favorites to take the top two slots in the September primary.

Quinn on name recognition alone, Thompson because he most likely will outperform how he is polling now.

If it's Thompson and Quinn in the runoff, then Thompson probably wins handily.

The Quinnipiac poll showed that earlier in the week, with Thompson besting Quinn in a runoff by 11 percentage points.

But all this presupposes unforseen circumstances and that we cannot do - as Azi Paybarah noted, other than Wayne Barrett, no one has given Thompson much scrutiny yet, but if he makes it to the runoff, that scrutiny will come.

If something turns up, well, you never know what can happen then.

It's been a truly crazy race so far, with lots of twists and turns for those of us paying attention since the beginning.

The exciting thing about all of this is, if you're an Anybody But Quinn person, she had her "inevitability bubble" burst long ago when she went from the presumed frontrunner to also-ran behind Weiner.

Now Weiner has gone from frontrunner and serious contender to national joke.

Remember when we were worried that we were going to be stuck with a Weiner/Quinn runoff to take on Lhota?

Well, it looks like we don't have to worry about that anymore.

I've been saying that it wasn't time to panic yet, that we weren't stuck with a Weiner/Quinn runoff because there was still plenty of time for either one of those candidates or both to take heavy damage or implode before the primary.

That has now happened to Weiner.

It may still happen to Quinn.

Hell, it could happen to Thompson or de Blasio too.

But no matter what happens, we now have a real race on our hands and we just may yet get a successor to Bloomberg who will not run a Bloomberg Mach IV administration.

That's not a bad place to be in late July with just over six weeks to go before Primary Day.


  1. I think that Liu is the candidate that has been the most stable and consistent in his statements and with his campaign. I think he has a chance to become mayor and he certainly is the best man for the 99% of New Yorkers who actually do the work fot this great city of hours. None of the candidates shows great strength in the poles. Do not naysay the chances of John Liu. Listen to what he says and what he does.

    1. Liu's negatives are second to Weiner's. I agree with you about his politics, but not his chances. He has no chance to be mayor.