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Poll: Spitzer On Road to Defeat in NY Comptroller Race

Image: Poll: Spitzer On Road to Defeat in NY Comptroller Race Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer, left, and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer participate in a primary debate for New York City comptroller on Aug. 22.

By Melanie Batley   |   Monday, 09 Sep 2013 12:39 PM

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer could be facing defeat Tuesday in the primary for New York City comptroller, a dramatic reversal of his once-commanding lead, a new poll has found.

A Quinnipiac University poll of 782 likely Democratic primary voters conducted Sept. 6-8 found Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer leads Spitzer by 50 percent to 43 percent.

The same survey released Aug. 14 showed Spitzer with 56 percent support compared to 37 percent for Stringer. By Sept. 4 the race had become too close to call, with Stringer taking a slight 47 percent to 45 percent lead.

An NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/ Marist Poll released Monday, however, found the race still was too close to call, with Spitzer carrying a narrow lead of 47 percent compared to 45 percent for Stringer.

"Scott Stringer has the momentum as he overcomes a huge publicity blitz by former Gov. Eliot Spitzer. He's not home free, but he looks to be on the plus side of the racial split, with a big white vote offsetting the almost-as-big black vote for Spitzer," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Connecticut university's polling institute.

In the Democratic primary for New York City mayor, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio still holds a commanding lead, but the question is whether he can gain the 40 percent he needs to avoid a runoff with his nearest Democratic challenger.

Quinnipiac found de Blasio at 39 percent, followed by former City Comptroller William Thompson at 25 percent; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 18 percent; former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, 6 percent; Comptroller John Liu; 4 percent; former Council member Sal Albanese, 1 percent.

While the figure shows a drop for de Blasio from 43 percent in a Sept. 3 survey, the "unusually large" bloc of undecided voters, 8 percent, the survey authors say, could push de Blasio over the 40 percent threshold, allowing him to avoid a runoff.

"It looks as if Public Advocate Bill de Blasio couldn't hold that 43 percent in a week when he was in the spotlight and he got walloped by everybody. His support by black voters slipped just enough to make a runoff possible. But he's ever so close," Carroll said.

"Remember that there are no undecided voters on Election Day. If de Blasio picks up just a few of those undecided voters, he's over the top. In our last few days of polling, however, we're seeing the movement to 2009 Democratic nominee William Thompson.

"Will de Blasio avoid a runoff or will we have a Battle of the Bills? Flip a coin."

The NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/ Marist Poll also found 8 percent of respondents were undecided, and it gives de Blasio a double-digit lead, albeit slightly lower at 36 percent compared to Thompson at 20 percent, Quinn at 20 percent, Weiner at 7 percent, Liu with 5 percent, and all others at 1 percent.

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