Bill de Blasio, riding a wave of support from New York City's most liberal voters, has opened a wide lead over his rivals among Democrats likely to vote in the mayoral primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
The 36 percent showing by de Blasio, the city's public advocate, puts him near the 40 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff, according to the poll. If no one reaches that mark in the Sept. 10 primary, the first- and second-place finishers go to an Oct. 1 runoff.
De Blasio was followed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 21 percent, former Comptroller Bill Thompson at 20 percent, former Rep. Anthony Weiner at 8 percent and Comptroller John Liu at 6 percent, the poll showed.
A Quinnipiac poll in late July had de Blasio fourth with 15 percent, and Weiner first, with 26 percent. De Blasio has since broken out of the pack, poll director Maurice Carroll said. "The political cliche, that the most liberal candidate wins the Democratic primary in New York, seems to be alive and well," Carroll said.
De Blasio's plan to hike taxes on those making more than $500,000 to fund education and other proposals has hooked liberal voters, Carroll said. Half of the Democrats who describe their political philosophy as very liberal went for de Blasio, versus 22 percent for Quinn and 13 percent for Thompson, the poll showed.
It shows de Blasio leading Thompson, the race's only African-American candidate, 34 percent to 25 percent among black voters, and topping Quinn, the race's only female candidate, 30 percent to 25 percent among women.
De Blasio "has done a good job of speaking to constituencies that he can pick off: African-American voters, nonwhite voters, outer-borough voters," New York University political communications professor Jeanne Zaino said.
Quinnipiac's survey of 602 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted Aug. 22-27 via landline and cellphone. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.