10/22: Bloomberg Leads Thompson By 16 Among Likely Voters

As Election Day nears, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has widened the gap between himself and his Democratic challenger Comptroller Bill Thompson to 16 percentage points in the race for New York City mayor.  Among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, Bloomberg has 52% to Thompson’s 36%.  Last month, Bloomberg led Thompson among this group of voters by 9 percentage points — 52% to 43%, respectively.  Although Bloomberg’s support is unchanged, Thompson has lost ground.

Michael Bloomberg and Bill Thompson

Michael Bloomberg and Bill Thompson

Support among likely Democratic voters has shifted in Bloomberg’s direction.  Nearly half of Democrats — 47% — are planning to cast their ballot for Bloomberg while 39% are backing Thompson.  Last month in a Marist survey conducted during the week of the Democratic primary, 51% supported Thompson, and 43% were behind Bloomberg.  Among Republicans, 82% of likely GOP voters including leaners now support Bloomberg while 14% are behind Thompson.  This is relatively unchanged since last month.

But, likely non-enrolled voters have moved toward Thompson.  48% would prefer to see Thompson in City Hall while 41% of these voters back Bloomberg.  This is a big shift since last month when 65% said they supported Bloomberg, and 31% were behind Thompson.

Looking at race, Bloomberg has the support of nearly seven in ten white likely voters compared with 27% for Thompson.  Among African American voters, 62% say they plan to vote for Thompson while 22% report they are going to cast their ballot for Bloomberg.  When it comes to Latino likely voters, the mayor receives support from 42% while Thompson garners 35%.

Among registered voters citywide, Bloomberg’s lead is 9 percentage points.  He nets 47% of the electorate’s support to Thompson’s 38%.  When Marist last asked voters about the mayor’s race in New York City in September, Bloomberg received 50% of registered voters’ support compared with 39% for Thompson.

Table: 2009 Race for Mayor in NYC — Likely Voters Including Leaners
Table: 2009 Race for Mayor in NYC — Registered Voters

Click Here for Complete October 22, 2009 NYC Poll Release and Tables

Majorities Shower Candidates with Strong Support…Bloomberg Voters More Committed

What are the odds voters will change their minds before Election Day?  For 65% of the city’s electorate that plans to show up on Election Day, the answer is, slim.  This is the proportion of likely voters who, regardless of whom they support, say they strongly back their choice of candidate.  26% are somewhat behind their pick, and just 8% of likely voters report they could change their minds before casting their ballot.

71% of Bloomberg supporters are solidly in his camp while 57% of Thompson backers are strongly committed to their candidate.

When it comes to selecting a candidate, 71% of likely voters in New York City say they are backing their pick, because they are for that candidate while about one in four report they are against his opponent.  But, Bloomberg and Thompson supporters differ about why they are choosing to back their candidate.  88% of Bloomberg’s supporters are for Bloomberg, and 10% are against Thompson.  A slim majority of Thompson’s supporters, though, aren’t necessarily voting for him.  51% plan to cast their ballot for Thompson, because they oppose Bloomberg.  43% say they support Thompson, because they are for him.

Table: Intensity of Support
Table: Voting for Candidate or Against Opponent?

Most Think Bloomberg Will Win…Majority of Thompson Backers Predict Mike

All in all, do voters think their ballots really matter?  79% of registered voters, regardless of whom they plan to support, think Mayor Bloomberg will be re-elected.  Even 62% of Thompson supporters believe Bloomberg is a shoo-in.  Similar proportions of both the overall electorate and voters for Thompson shared this view last month.

Table: Will Bloomberg Be Re-Elected?

Thompson’s Unfavorable Rating Up…Bloomberg Remains Steady

The good news for Thompson is more voters know who he is.  The bad news is more people have a negative impression of him.  Currently, 47% of voters citywide think favorably of Comptroller Thompson.  This is comparable to the favorability rating he received in Marist’s September survey.

However, there has been a change in Thompson’s unfavorable rating.  Currently, 33% of voters citywide have a negative view of the comptroller while 20% have either never heard of him or are unsure how to rate him.  In September, 22% did not think highly of him, and 29% were unsure how to rate him.

On the flip side, Mayor Bloomberg’s favorability ratings are steady.  63% of voters have a positive view of the mayor while 33% have a negative impression of him.  Those proportions are relatively unchanged from last month.

Table: Thompson Favorability
Table: Bloomberg Favorability

Money Makes No Difference, but Term Limits Do

The amount of money Mayor Bloomberg is spending on his re-election campaign doesn’t matter to New York City voters.  72% report the funds will not impact their vote.  20% say the mayor’s spending will make them less likely to vote for Bloomberg, and 8% are more likely to vote for him because of it.  These numbers are consistent with Marist’s September findings.

However, the mayor’s decision to extend term limits from two to three terms does impact voters’ preferences.  42% say they are less likely to vote for the mayor because of his move to extend term limits compared with only 8% who are more likely to cast their ballot for Bloomberg because of it.  49% say the decision makes no difference to them.  There is a silver lining, though, for the mayor.  Dislike of the mayor’s action has not grown during the past eight months.  When Marist last asked this question in February, 44% said his move would make them less likely to vote for the mayor, and 12% reported it would make them more likely to vote for him.  44% revealed his decision made no difference to them.

Table: Bloomberg Campaign Finance
Table: Term Limits and Bloomberg

Marist Poll Methodology

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10/22: Bloomberg Approval Rating at 58%