Andrew Yang has built a sizeable lead in the crowded Democratic primary race to become New York City’s next mayor, according to a new poll released Monday — with more than 1 in 5 likely Democratic voters backing the former presidential candidate.
The survey, conducted by NY1 news and Ipsos, found that 22 percent of likely Democratic primary voters would name Yang their top pick on their primary ballot, 13 percent said that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams would be their first pick, while just 11 percent selected Comptroller Scott Stringer — the only current citywide elected official in the race.
The NY1/Ipsos survey also found some good news for Stringer — he narrowly edged out Adams and Yang as the second choice preference for Democratic primary voters with 14 percent compared to 13 percent for Yang.
However, a test run by NY1/Ipsos that removed undecided voters from the calculation found that if the election were held today Adams and Stringer would remain in effectively a dead-heat for several rounds of balloting that Yang would ultimately win.
No other candidate netted better than 10 percent in the first choice rankings — but there’s still two months until the primary and several of the second-tier candidates have scored significant awards from the city’s public financing system that will help them compete.
More than a quarter of likely voters, 26 percent, told pollsters they were still undecided on their first choice in the June 22 contest, which will be the first citywide application of the Big Apple’s new ranked-choice voting system.
The high number of undecided voters comes despite 77 percent of survey respondents telling pollsters they were familiar with Yang, who built a fan base with his failed long-shot 2020 presidential bid.
That’s traditionally a warning sign that the tech entrepreneur’s campaign may face a potential ceiling of support as the race enters its closing weeks.
Three-in-five likely Democratic primary voters said they were familiar with Stringer, which suggests he too may have limited room to grow his support in the race. Just 53 percent said they were familiar with Adams.
The poll may also help explain why Stringer’s campaign is working to reposition itself in the closing weeks, moving from highlighting the Comptroller’s backing of left-wing Democratic primary challengers in 2018 and 2019 back to focusing on his resume.
Just 22 percent of primary voters described themselves as more liberal or more progressive than the Democratic Party — while 59 percent said their views were typically in line with the party and another 18 percent described themselves as more conservative.
The competition in the left lane is fierce.
Maya Wiley — the former top legal advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio-turned-cable news pundit — netted 7 percent in the first round, with only 36 percent voters saying they were familiar with her. Longtime activist and non-profit head Dianne Morales scored 5 percent of the first-round vote with 25 percent of voters said they were familiar with her.
The two have netted $5.1 million in matching campaign funds from the city, ensuring they will have the resources to go through the primary.
Meanwhile, Adams and Yang will also face stiff and well-financed competition as they seek to consolidate the city’s moderate white and minority voters.
Just 32 percent of likely primary voters have heard of former CitiBank executive Ray McGuire, who has already raised $7.4 million and just scored a crucial endorsement from the chairman of the Queens Democratic Party, Congressman Gregory Meeks. He polled at just 6 percent.
And only 29 percent have heard of former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who scored key organizing support from the Teamsters Union locals at her old department and $2.3 million in matching public funds. She was at 4 percent in the first round — but jumped to 11 percent in the second.
One second-tier candidate has been blitzing the airwaves with ads for weeks — apparently to little avail.
Just 6 percent named Shaun Donovan — the former Bloomberg housing commissioner and budget director for former President Barack Obama — as their first choice and his name recognition remains anemic 35 percent.
His father, Michael, has given an independent political group backing his campaign $2 million, triggering a review by the Campaign Finance Board.
Political observers and the campaigns have chalked up the still-highly unsettled state of the race to a slew of factors, including the sprawling field of more than a half-dozen candidates; the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic turmoil, which has consumed life in the Big Apple; and the city’s new public financing system, which gives qualifying second-tier candidates funding to potentially vault to the top.
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