City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at City Hall. (Aug. 22,...

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at City Hall. (Aug. 22, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

Council Speaker Christine Quinn has slipped into third place among the Democratic candidates for mayor, while New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio leads the field and former Comptroller Bill Thompson is within striking distance, according to an amNewYork-News 12 poll released Thursday.

In the Republican race, Joe Lhota, the former MTA chairman, leads billionaire John Catsimatidis by a nearly 2-1 margin.

De Blasio, buoyed by the city's most liberal residents for his opposition to the NYPD's stop-and-frisk practices and from a family-centric ad campaign, has 29 percent support among likely Democratic voters, according to the poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland. Thompson has 24 percent and Quinn is third with 17 percent.

"It's a momentum game," pollster Mike Berland said. "Clearly, de Blasio has momentum up, Quinn has momentum down and Thompson just hangs in there."

Other polls conducted earlier in the campaign have had Quinn with a substantial lead and de Blasio as low as fourth place.

If no candidate receives at least 40 percent of the vote on the Sept. 10 primary, the two top finishers will meet in a runoff on Oct. 1.

Rounding out the field of Democrats in the amNewYork-News 12 poll is former Rep. Anthony Weiner with 10 percent, Comptroller John Liu, 5 percent and former City Councilman Sal Albanese and Brooklyn minister Erick Salgado, 1 percent each. Undecided voters account for 13 percent.

De Blasio has a substantial edge with voters who describe themselves as "very liberal," earning 45 percent of their support, with Quinn second at 19 percent. He beats Quinn -- the race's only woman -- with female voters, 29 percent to 19 percent. Thompson -- the only black candidate -- leads among African-American voters with 35 percent, but de Blasio is a strong second with 29 percent.

Quinn leads among Latino voters, though barely. She has 22 percent to Thompson's 20 percent and de Blasio's 18 percent.

The poll, conducted from Aug. 22-27, surveyed 600 likely Democratic primary election voters via landline and cellphone. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

De Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers said, "Voters are responding to Bill de Blasio because he is the only Democrat who will boldly break from the Bloomberg years by raising taxes on the wealthy to invest in universal pre-K and after-school programs, ending racial profiling, and fighting to save community hospitals."

Quinn spokesman Mike Morey said the campaign is confident she'll make the runoff. "The polling in this race has been going up and down for months and we planned for a tight race until the very end."

Thompson spokeswoman Dani Lever did not respond to a request for comment.

In the Republican primary, half of all likely GOP primary voters would pick Lhota over his two competitors, easily crowning him the party's nominee, according to the poll.

The survey of 400 likely Republican voters in all five boroughs shows Lhota with 50 percent of support to Catsimatidis' 28 percent and George McDonald's 5 percent, while 15 percent are undecided. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

Lhota spokeswoman Jessica Proud said the poll results showed that his message is resonating with voters.

"Joe has shown voters he has both the experience and vision to move New York City forward with a strong economy, safe streets and thriving schools."

Catsimatidis spokesman Rob Ryan said "we are extremely skeptical about the accuracy" of the poll, citing its internal canvassing surveys and past outside polls that show "a very different race." Ryan also pointed to Lhota's past work as a corporate executive for Cablevision, which owns amNY, News 12 and Newsday.

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