WNBC/Telemundo 47/POLITICO/Marist Poll: NYC Democratic Primary for Mayor

New York City Democratic Mayoralty Primary: Adams Leads with Garcia and Wiley in Final Round Top Tier

This month’s Democratic primary for New York City mayor is an election marked by heightened uncertainty – unknown turnout levels, a June primary for the first time for mayor, a large field of candidates, a sizeable number of undecided voters, and the introduction of ranked-choice voting.

“Primary polling always has levels of uncertainty even in traditional elections,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist Poll. “But in this case, with ranked-choice voting, each round is another survey estimate which leads to additional statistical uncertainty. The contest involving the top-tier candidates remains fluid.”

According to this WNBC/Telemundo 47/POLITICO/Marist Poll, Eric Adams (24%) leads the field of candidates among New York City likely Democratic primary voters in their first-choice selection. Kathryn Garcia (17%), Maya Wiley (15%), and Andrew Yang (13%) follow. Support for the other Democratic candidates is within single digits in this first round.

NYC Democratic Mayoral Primary – First Choice

Source: WNBC/Telemundo 47/POLITICO/Marist Poll New York City Likely Democratic Primary Voters. Interviews conducted June 3 – June 9, 2021, n=876 MOE +/- 3.8% percentage points.

Adams is the first choice among all demographic groups, except for whites, likely Democratic primary voters under the age of 45, those who identify as very liberal or liberal, and Jewish voters. Garcia is the number-one choice for whites (28%), Jewish voters (26%), and those who identify as liberal (25%). Younger voters (22%) and those who identify as very liberal (34%) select Wiley as their first-choice candidate. Adams does exceptionally well among Blacks (43%) in this first-round ranking.

Ranked-choice voting allows voters to rank up to five candidates on the ballot in order of preference. In turn, candidates with the lowest vote totals in multiple rounds will be eliminated and voters’ support will be given to their next-choice candidates until one candidate receives more than fifty percent of the vote.

In the survey, more than one in four (26%) likely Democratic primary voters only selected a first-choice candidate. 23% chose a first and second choice. 18% ranked three candidates while 9% selected four candidates. Nearly one in four (24%) ranked five candidates.

In the final ranking, the survey estimate, calculated with the assistance of FairVote*, shows Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia as the last candidates standing with 12 points separating Adams (56%) and Garcia (44%). No candidate comes within eight percentage points of Adams in any of the rankings leading up to the final round. Of note, Wiley remains competitive until the penultimate round.

Among the top three candidates – Adams, Garcia, and Wiley – likely Democratic primary voters in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens prefer Adams while those in Manhattan favor Garcia. Although likely Democratic primary voters in Staten Island were interviewed for this survey and included in citywide results, the proportional size of the borough in the survey sample is too small to report separately.

The survey estimates are based on telephone interviews conducted from June 3, 2021 through June 9, 2021 with 876 likely Democratic primary voters in New York City. Interviews were conducted in either English or Spanish. The margin of error for first-choice selection is +/-3.8 percentage points. Statistical uncertainty increases with each round of ranking.

* Additional ranked-choice analysis was conducted by FairVote, a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. Their goal is to research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every voter.