Poll: de Blasio leads in NYC mayoral primary

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NEW YORK -- Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has support from 39 percent of the city's likely Democratic voters, just shy of the 40 percent he needs in today's primary to avoid a runoff with his closest competitor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

Mr. de Blasio, 52, elected four years ago to the citywide watchdog office of public advocate, retains the lead among seven candidates. Former city Comptroller William Thompson has 25 percent, and city council Speaker Christine Quinn has 18 percent. About 8 percent were undecided, and 18 percent said they may change their minds, according to the poll released Monday, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

"There are no undecided voters on Election Day," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Hamden, Conn.-based Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "If de Blasio picks up just a few of those undecided voters, he's over the top."

Mr. Thompson appeared to gain support in the last few days of polling, Mr. Carroll said. A Sept. 3 Quinnipiac poll gave Mr. de Blasio 43 percent -- enough to put him above the 40 percent threshold to avoid an Oct. 1 runoff between winner and runner-up. In the poll taken a week ago, Mr. Thompson had 20 percent and Ms. Quinn, 18 percent.

Of the other Democratic candidates, former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner has support from 6 percent; city Comptroller John Liu, 4 percent; Sal Albanese, 1 percent.

In the race for city comptroller, which appeared too close to call last week, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer appeared to have lost support. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer had 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, and Mr. Spitzer, 43 percent. Another 7 percent remained undecided, and 13 percent said there's a "good chance" they may change their mind by today. The comptroller is the city's chief financial officer, auditing agencies and programs, overseeing $140 billion in pension assets and monitoring New York's $70 billion budget.

Democrats outnumber Republicans in the most populous U.S. city by more than 6-to-1. City Hall for the past 20 years has been run by Republican former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who ran in 2001 and 2005 as a Republican and, in 2009, as an independent, also on the Republican ballot line.

Mr. Bloomberg, 71, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP, is barred by law from seeking a fourth term.

Mr. de Blasio, a former city council member from Brooklyn, has proposed increasing the municipal tax on income above $500,000 to raise $532 million to pay for all-day pre-kindergarten and after-school activities for adolescents. The measure would have to be approved by the state legislature.

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