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Mayor's race could burst GOP power bubble

Bill de Blasio

Bill de Blasio Photo Credit: Bill de Blasio (Getty Images)

New York City’s 20-year Republican power bubble looks ready to burst.

Democrat Bill de Blasio’s 64%-23% lead over Republican Joe Lhota for mayor in the latest amNewYork-News 12 poll suggests the implosion of what might best be called a declining political stock.

Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg pumped cash into the city’s GOP to give him a ballot spot in three elections — thus overvaluing the party, which faces a 6-1 Democratic enrollment advantage citywide.

Bloomberg and his Republican predecessor Rudy Giuliani managed to hold City Hall for five terms in all by siphoning Democrats and unaffiliated voters with the help of key third-party cross-endorsements.

But this time the numbers show Lhota, a first-time candidate, failing to draw these crucial crossovers — even from voters who indicate that they side with him against de Blasio on some major issues.

Lhota calls for more charter schools, yet his own numbers fall short of the 40% who also say they want to see such an expansion.

Forty-three percent say Lhota would be tough on crime and improve public safety while only 41% say the same of de Blasio.

Forty-five percent said they’d prefer to see Ray Kelly, Lhota’s choice, stay on as police commissioner — about twice as many as would vote for Lhota to make that happen.

And, while 65% surveyed favor de Blasio’s proposal for a new tax on top city earners, 49% say they believe, as Lhota argues, that de Blasio wouldn’t get the proposal approved in Albany.

The head-to-head numbers show Lhota failing to catch fire. Even Staten Island — an important base for Republican mayoral hopefuls since Giuliani’s first win in 1993 — goes to de Blasio 44%-38%, according to the poll.

Citywide, the Republican Party isn’t even opposing Democrat Letitia James in her run to succeed de Blasio as public advocate. And Republicans haven’t elected a comptroller here since the 1940s.

The Independence Party, previously a key platform for Bloomberg, now appears irrelevant with party nominee Adolfo Carrion at a mere 2%, according to the poll. The Conservative Party supports Lhota, but hasn’t factored in a New York City mayoral race since the 1960s.

The poll confirms what prominent Democrats, and some Republicans, have been saying — that the mix of circumstances that fed the GOP’s extended City Hall run just aren’t there this year.

In a sign of the times, Manhattan Mini Storage has a subway ad that boasts: “Our prices are falling faster than GOP approval ratings.”

Dan Janison is a Newsday columnist.


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