A couple of days ago, I asked if New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, candidate for the Democratic nomination for mayor, was a one-poll wonder. Today, the answer is an emphatic no. According to the new Wall Street Journal-NBC4NY-Marist poll, he is now tied (24 percent) with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the long-standing front runner, among likely Democratic voters.
We have to be a little cautious here. The sample size is small (355 likely Democratic voters) and the margin of error is a wacky plus or minus 5.2 percentage points. That means former city comptroller Bill Thompson, who garnered 18 percent support, could be tied with them, too.
No doubt Thompson is happy with his standing. But if you’re de Blasio, you’re ecstatic. Polls like this only add to his momentum heading into the Sept. 10 primary. But he’s not just tied with Quinn. The latest survey shows that if de Blasio were to face her in an Oct. 1 run-off, he would grab 44 percent support to Quinn’s 42 percent. He also would beat Thompson in a run-off, 44 percent to 36 percent. But Thompson would best Quinn by 1 percentage point (43 percent to 42 percent).
As much as this poll is about the emergence of de Blasio, it is a confirmation of the trouble Quinn appears to be in. Even though her approval rating sits at a respectable 54 percent among Democrats, her unfavorability rating spiked to 32 percent compared to 17 percent in February. Her front-runner status has made her a target of attacks for a while. Her close governing relationship with Mayor Bloomberg hasn’t helped her. Some folks have taken to calling a vote for her a vote for a fourth Bloomberg term. And there is lingering anger in many liberal precincts over her role in overturning the term-limits law that allowed Bloomberg to run for a third term.
Ed Rendell delivered a glimmer of hope for Quinn on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today. With 25 days until the primary, the former Pennsylvania governor warned that de Blasio might be peaking too soon. He might be right. This new poll makes him a target for attacks that might drag down his standing. And the focus on him instead of Quinn might allow her to stop the bleeding of support.
Follow Jonathan Capehart on Twitter.