Mayor Bill de Blasio launched his re-election campaign last night, raising $1 million toward the 2017 race as a new poll showed voters evenly split on his job performance.
The survey, by Quinnipiac University, shows that 46 percent of voters disapprove and 45 percent approve of his performance as mayor -- little changed from the results of an August survey that was de Blasio's lowest to date.
Voters are divided by race on de Blasio: his approval is 71 percent to 21 percent among black voters and 51 percent to 34 percent with Hispanics, but a negative 28 percent to 65 percent among whites.
The fundraiser at the Sheraton Times Square, described as a "kick off gala," drew more than 300 attendees and brought in more than $1 million, his campaign said.
"It's an informal beginning," de Blasio said earlier in the day at an unrelated event.
"People who weren't me started the discussion over the last few months," de Blasio added of potential opponents. "We wanted to let them know that I was resolute about coming back and continuing to serve the people, and that we would have a lot of support in doing that."
Asked why he was launching his campaign two years before the 2017 election, he pointed to the ever-lengthening cycle.
"This is what has happened in public life all over this country," he said. "Things have stretched out more and more."
De Blasio told donors, including "Sex and the City" star Cynthia Nixon, that he has tackled income inequality with progressive initiatives such as universal pre-K and affordable housing.
"We have done exactly what the people of this city sent us here to do: Act," he said at the closed-door event, according to remarks from his campaign.
About 80 protesters gathered outside the fundraiser for causes including a ban on horse-drawn carriages and an end to the NYPD's "broken windows" practice under Commissioner William Bratton of targeting low-level crime. Some briefly pushed their way into the hotel.
Josmar Trujillo of New Yorkers Against Bratton, called de Blasio a "faux-gressive" on policing, housing and other issues.
Earlier Thursday, de Blasio said, "I've believed in 'broken windows' all along, and I believe in quality-of-life policing, and I actually think it is a progressive position to believe in it."THESE TWO GRAFS CAN GO WEB ONLY The Democratic mayor had raised only $17,350 for 2017 in the six-month cycle leading up to July 11, the last Campaign Finance Board reporting deadline, filings show.
While de Blasio has not been filling his campaign war chest, a lobbying organization that supports his agenda. Campaign for One New York.-- had collected more than $1.7 million as of July 16, according to records that the nonprofit voluntarily disclosed.
The Quinnipiac survey found de Blasio ahead of challengers in a hypothetical Democratic primary contest.
He had 41 percent compared with 13 percent for Comptroller Scott Stringer, 7 percent for U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and 4 percent for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. About 27 percent were undecided.
The poll was conducted Oct. 22-28 and surveyed 1,155 city voters. Its margin of sampling error of +/- 2.9 percentage points.