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Poll finds Bloomberg rival gaining ground

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller William C. Thompson,

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr., a candidate for Mayor of New York, at an event at Cooper Union celebrating 100 years of the NAACP. Credit: Jefferson Siegel

New York Comptroller William Thompson, vastly outspent on his NYC mayoral campaign by his billionaire opponent, gained ground this month on Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows.

Thompson, the top Democratic challenger, now trails Bloomberg, an Independent, 47 percent to 37 percent among New York voters, the poll showed.

The 10-point gap is less than half of Bloomberg's 54 percent to 32 percent lead in a June 16 poll.

Bloomberg, a former Democrat and Republican, dismissed the poll at an unrelated event in Manhattan.

"Polls are polls," he said. "The only poll that really matters is going to be taken in the city November 3rd."

Thompson, who has lately increased attacks on Bloomberg, has spent about $2.3 million on his campaign, while Bloomberg has spent more than $36 million of his own money so far for his re-election bid.

Bloomberg, who signed a bill allowing him to seek a third term, spent $85 million on his entire campaign in 2005.

Anne Fenton, a spokeswoman for the Thompson campaign, said Bloomberg is continuing to spend millions of dollars just to see "his poll numbers decline.

"New Yorkers want change in City Hall," she said.

Bloomberg continues to enjoy high approval ratings. He has a 63 percent approval rating for this month, slightly lower than the 66 percent he received in the June 16 survey.

While his approval rating is down - some polls have shown it as high as 75 percent as recently as October - Bloomberg's rating is better than most elected officials in states the Quinnipiac University surveys, poll officials said.

For the latest survey, Quinnipiac surveyed 1,290 registered New York voters from July 21 to 27. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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