Bill de Blasio has 50-point lead over Joe Lhota, poll shows

Democratic nominee for mayor and Public Advocate Bill

Democratic nominee for mayor and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio receives hugs after reading "My Family Is Forever" by Nancy Carlson to prekindergarten children at the Children's Aid Society's East Harlem Center in Manhattan. (Sept. 30, 2013) Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

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Mayoral front-runner Bill de Blasio said Thursday he is "gratified and humbled" by yet another poll predicting a landslide victory, as his opponent Joe Lhota attacked him as an inexperienced "hack" with no solid ideas.

Shortly after a Quinnipiac poll showed Democrat de Blasio beating his Republican rival 71 percent to 21 percent, Lhota began criticizing de Blasio on television and at a campaign stop in Flushing, Queens.

"Bill de Blasio is essentially a political hack who has no plans for the future," Lhota told reporters who asked about de Blasio's proposal to raise taxes on high-income New Yorkers to fund universal prekindergarten -- which would need Albany's approval at a time when Cuomo has signaled a desire to lower them as he named a panel to review state taxes.

On NY1 Thursday night, de Blasio shot back. "I've offered a very clear vision for the future; Joe Lhota has offered a series of tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy."

With 5 1/2 weeks until the Nov. 5 election, the Quinnipiac survey spotlighted the uphill battle Lhota faces in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1.

"It's gratifying and it's humbling," de Blasio said about the poll earlier on 1010 WINS radio. "I don't take anything for granted, even though this is a wonderful poll."

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The poll showed that Lhota's efforts to tar de Blasio as a leftist who is too inexperienced to govern are not gaining traction. "Lhota, at this point, is flailing," said Kenneth Sherrill, Hunter College emeritus professor of political science.

Two weeks ago, another Quinnipiac poll showed de Blasio besting Lhota 66 percent to 25 percent.

Asked Thursday about the latest poll on Fox/5's "Good Day NY," Lhota predicted he will do better as the candidates debate, and "New Yorkers start to focus on the race."

The first debate will be held Oct. 15, with two more scheduled for Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.

The most recent Quinnipiac poll was conducted between Sept. 25 and Tuesday. It questioned 1,198 likely voters. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Only 5 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided, and 11 percent said they were open to changing their minds.

Across all demographics, voters had a favorable opinion of de Blasio, 69 percent to 19 percent. More voters had an unfavorable view of Lhota, 36 percent, than had a favorable view of him, 26 percent.

Separately Thursday, de Blasio's public advocate's office filed a court brief opposing a pro-Lhota group's challenge of a state-mandated $150,000-donation cap for independent expenditures. Lhota's campaign called on de Blasio to withdraw the brief, calling it "outrageous" that he's "using his taxpayer-funded office to try and advance his own political career."

Good-government groups said they supported de Blasio's move. Dick Dadey of Citizens Union called it a "gray area."

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