The candidates are now in place for November’s race for mayor in New York City, and early numbers show the incumbent, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 50% of registered voters compared with 39% for his Democratic challenger, New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson. 10% say they are unsure. In Marist’s July survey, 48% reported they backed Bloomberg, 35% supported Thompson, and 17% were unsure.
When looking at those all-important likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Bloomberg has 52% to Thompson’s 43%.
How does the race shape up along party lines? Registered Republicans are overwhelmingly on Bloomberg’s side. 80% are backing Bloomberg compared with 17% for Thompson. Democrats, on the other hand, divide with 43% supporting Bloomberg and 46% behind Thompson. A majority of non-enrolled voters say Bloomberg is their man compared with one-third who want Thompson to take over the reins as mayor.
Looking at race, Thompson receives the support of 52% of African American voters compared with 37% for Bloomberg. Bloomberg garners the support of six in ten white voters, and Thompson receives the backing of 29%. Latino members of the electorate divide with 48% supporting Bloomberg and 43% in favor of Thompson.
Majority of Voters Strongly Support a Candidate…Most Predict Bloomberg Winner
A majority of registered voters in New York City say they strongly back their choice of candidate. 52% report this to be the case while 30% are just somewhat behind their pick. 17% might cast their ballot differently come Election Day.
Slightly more registered voters who say they support Bloomberg are firmly entrenched in his camp compared with those who report backing Thompson. 54% of those who favor Bloomberg are firmly committed to their candidate while 49% of Thompson’s supporters vow not to waver.
So, why are voters backing a specific candidate? 63% of registered voters report they like their candidate while 32% say they’re backing a candidate, because they dislike his competitor. The latter is the case for a majority of Thompson supporters — 58% — while only 12% of Bloomberg’s backers report they are voting for Bloomberg, because they are against Thompson.
And, Thompson certainly needs to prove to the electorate that he has a fighting chance to beat Mayor Bloomberg. Right now, 78% of registered voters in the city, regardless of whom they are planning to support, say they think Bloomberg will win a third term. This is an increase in the proportion of registered voters who thought this way in Marist’s July survey. Currently, even 62% of voters who support Bill Thompson share this view.
Campaign Sparks Voters’ Interest?
Although a majority within the electorate is tossing hefty support behind a candidate, just how engaged are voters in the race for mayor? 51% of registered voters describe the contest as boring, and 44% believe it to be interesting. Not surprisingly, interest increases among likely voters.
However, 53% of the overall electorate is keeping a close eye on the election. This includes 12% who report they are following the campaign very closely and 41% who are closely following it. 36% are not tracking the race much, and 11% admit to not being engaged in it at all.
Thompson Who? Unknown to 29%…About Six in Ten View Bloomberg Favorably
62% of New York City voters have a favorable impression of Mayor Bloomberg compared with 49% who view Thompson this way.
But, Thompson does not have as unfavorable an image as the mayor. Just 22% have a negative impression of Thompson compared with 32% for Bloomberg. And, fewer voters have yet to pass judgment on the comptroller. 29% of the electorate doesn’t know what to make of him while just 6% say the same about Bloomberg.
Unconcerned About Bloomberg’s Spending
How do voters react to Mayor Bloomberg’s personal campaign spending? 73% of registered voters say the amount of money Mayor Bloomberg is shelling out will not impact their vote. 21% think it will make them less likely to vote for him compared with just 6% who report they are more likely to do so. In Marist’s July survey, 65% said Bloomberg’s money would make no difference.
Setting Priorities: Jobs and Education Top List
Voters may not know who will be the city’s next mayor, but they do know the issues that should be at the top of his agenda. 25% think jobs should be the next mayor’s priority, and 20% believe it should be education. With 17%, economic development comes in third. Housing follows with 9%, and security from terrorism and taxes round out the top five with 6%
The Marist Poll’s Lee Miringoff says Bloomberg could face a competitive race, if his opponent plays his cards right: