Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio was riding high Monday, maintaining a substantial lead in yet another poll over Joe Lhota and collecting more than $1 million at a Manhattan fundraiser headlined by Hillary Clinton.
The 2 1/2-hour evening event at the Roosevelt Hotel was "extraordinarily successful," de Blasio told reporters afterward. He said his wife, Chirlane, introduced the former Secretary of State, "who really rallied the crowd." In her speech, she recalled her successful 2000 U.S. Senate campaign was "in good hands" with fellow Democrat de Blasio at the helm, he said. "She paralleled that in a very touching way to the choice New Yorkers have to make about their next mayor and what values you're looking for in a mayor," he added.
Earlier Monday, a Quinnipiac poll showed de Blasio maintaining his 3-1 lead over Republican Lhota on the eve of their second debate on WCBS-TV.
Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said de Blasio "probably can start drafting his inauguration speech," as he topped Republican Lhota, 68 to 24 percent, with few undecided or likely to change their mind before the Nov. 5 election. "The bad news is that New York City voters' priority for the next mayor is . . . jobs, something over which a mayor has very little control," Carroll said in a statement.
The poll, conducted between Oct. 16-20, showed little change from previous surveys: de Blasio leading 54-42 percent among white voters; 94-5 percent among black voters; 79-10 percent, with 6 percent for Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion Jr., among Hispanics.
Voters are divided 48-45 percent on the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which de Blasio seeks to revamp and Lhota wants to keep, but with more community outreach. Minorities are more opposed to it, but all groups agree, 62-30 percent, keeping the crime rate down is more important than reforming the policy, the survey showed.
On charter schools, 35 percent believe the number should stay the same, while 39-18 percent say they should be expanded.
Charter schools located in public school buildings should pay rent, 47 percent of voters say, while 43 percent believe they should get a free ride.
De Blasio will have to come to terms with the fact that many voters don't believe he can "reform stop-and-frisk without crime going up" and that "charter schools -- about which he's not enthusiastic -- are popular," Carroll noted. Lhota favors expanding charter schools.
Those surveyed gave de Blasio a 65 percent to 23 percent favorability rating; Lhota a negative 31 to 39 percent favorability, with 27 percent saying they don't know enough about him to form an opinion.
De Blasio's campaign declined to discuss the poll. Lhota's camp could not immediately be reached for comment.
Quinnipiac questioned 973 likely voters via landline and cellphone, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Five percent of voters said they were undecided.