Mayor's race could burst Republican power bubble

Mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio.

Mayoral candidates Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio. (Credit: Anthony Lanzilote; Charles Eckert)

New York City's 20-year Republican power bubble looks ready to burst.

Democrat Bill de Blasio's 64-23 percent lead over Republican Joe Lhota for mayor in the latest amNewYork-News 12 poll suggests the implosion of what might best be called a declining political stock.

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg pumped cash into the city's GOP to give him a ballot spot in three elections -- thus overvaluing the party, which faces a 6-1 Democratic enrollment advantage citywide.


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Bloomberg and his Republican predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, managed to hold City Hall for five terms in all by siphoning Democrats and nonaffiliated voters with the help of key third-party cross-endorsements.

But this time the numbers show Lhota, a first-time candidate, failing to draw these crucial crossovers -- even from voters who indicate that they side with him against de Blasio on some major issues.

Lhota calls for more charter schools, yet his own numbers fall short of the 40 percent who also say they want to see such an expansion.

Forty-three percent say Lhota would be tough on crime and improve public safety while 41 percent say the same of de Blasio.

Forty-five percent said they'd prefer to see Ray Kelly, Lhota's choice, stay on as police commissioner -- about twice as many as would vote for Lhota to make that happen.

And, while 65 percent surveyed favor de Blasio's proposal for a new tax on top city earners, 49 percent say they believe, as Lhota argues, that de Blasio wouldn't get it approved in Albany.

The head-to-head numbers show Lhota failing to catch fire. Even Staten Island -- an important base for Republican mayoral hopefuls since Giuliani's first win in 1993 -- goes to de Blasio 44-38 percent.

Citywide, the party isn't even opposing Democrat Letitia James in her run to succeed de Blasio as public advocate. And Republicans haven't elected a comptroller here since the 1940s.

The Independence Party, previously a key platform for Bloomberg, now appears irrelevant with party nominee Adolfo Carrion at a mere 2 percent, according to the poll. The Conservative Party supports Lhota, but hasn't factored in a New York City mayoral race since the 1960s.

The poll confirms what prominent Democrats, and some Republicans, have been saying -- that the mix of circumstances that fed the GOP's extended City Hall run just aren't there this year.

In a sign of the times, Manhattan Mini Storage has a subway ad that boasts: "Our prices are falling faster than GOP approval ratings."

As bubbles go, non-Democrats Giuliani and Bloomberg lasted longer as a force than bundled subprime mortgages and dot-com stocks combined.

Perhaps it augured the end in 2007 when Bloomberg withdrew his GOP registration.

That came just three years after he, Giuliani and ex-Mayor Ed Koch separately addressed the party's 2004 convention at Madison Square Garden to declare support for President George W. Bush's re-election.