More than four in 10 Democrats who back a candidate in the New York City mayoral primary and are likely to vote have switched allegiances during the course of the campaign, which is now entering its final week, an amNewYork-News 12 poll found.

Also, one in three backers for each of top three candidates -- Bill de Blasio, Bill Thompson and Christine Quinn -- either does not strongly support them or is merely leaning toward them, according to the poll by Penn Schoen Berland.

Together, those numbers underscore how the race has been -- and is likely to remain -- volatile to the end.

By the numbers

The poll showed de Blasio, the city's public advocate, leading among likely Democratic voters with 29 percent. Former Comptroller Thompson had 24 percent and City Council Speaker Quinn trailed at 17 percent. Thirteen percent were undecided.

The poll, conducted from Aug. 22-27, surveyed 600 Democrats likely to vote in the Sept. 10 primary and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points.

De Blasio has been the biggest beneficiary of the vote-switchers, with 48 percent now backing him, the poll showed. Thompson got 27 percent of switchers and Quinn 11 percent.

More voters abandoned Quinn and Weiner than their rivals: 23 percent of vote-switchers were formerly for Quinn and 27 percent for Weiner.

Connection counts

De Blasio's ability to connect with voters has helped fuel his late-breaking surge.

Jamal Clarke, 50, of East Flatbush -- liked Anthony Weiner, rejected him, considered Thompson and chose de Blasio.

"I like what I see and I like what I hear," said Clarke, whose hot-dog cart near City Hall allows him to see the contenders as they stump there.

"Thompson doesn't get me here," he said, touching his heart.

If no candidate gets at least 40 percent of the vote, the first- and second-place candidates will meet in an Oct. 1 runoff.

"This is a game of musical chairs: who gets a chair and who doesn't," said pollster Mike Berland said. "De Blasio had to earn one, Quinn is trying not lose one ... Thompson has positioned himself well for the runoff."

Fallout for Weiner

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner's poll numbers tumbled after a second-wave sexting scandal in late July. Fifty-nine percent of former Quinn backers and 57 percent of former Weiner backers are now with de Blasio.

"Weiner did very well with black voters and the outer boroughs, those were his areas, and de Blasio has benefitted from his implosion," said Jeanne Zaino, an NYU political communications professor.

De Blasio has sought to outflank Thompson, the city's first black comptroller, on issues important to black and Latino communities, including stop-and-frisk.

"Getting in the runoff can be a game of inches," said Democratic strategist Bob Shrum. "And clearly, there's a huge focus on fighting for that African-American vote."

On that score, de Blasio has benefited from Thompson's perceived trouble forming a strong connection with some African-American voters.

"You know when you're talking to someone and you don't feel where he's coming from?" said Katherine Wilson, 57, of East Harlem. "They're not talking to you, they're talking around and over you."

Wilson hosted de Blasio during a candidates' sleepover in July at her public housing complex.

Key issue for voters

De Blasio has surged thanks in large part to his vocal support of two City Council laws intended to reform stop-and-frisk, experts said. His biracial family, especially son Dante, 15, has been featured prominently on the trail and in ads.

Thompson, who had positioned himself as a moderate, has tried to catch up on stop-and-frisk. He ran an ad saying he understands the need for NYPD reform because he has "lived" as a man of color.

Quinn enjoyed higher poll numbers earlier in the campaign thanks to name recognition, but support ebbed as voters learned more about the other candidates, experts said. She is also suffering from her close affiliation with Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a time when voters want change.

"De Blasio's campaign has done an outstanding job of painting Quinn as something of an incumbent," Zaino said.

De Blasio has 45 percent support from voters choosing a candidate based on ideas and proposals, the poll showed, and 42 percent from those wanting a mayor who represents change.

Quinn did best with voters favoring a candidate who can get things done, getting 28 percent of their support.

Thompson gets 41 percent backing from voters looking for experience. Before his eight years as comptroller, he headed the Board of Education.

***

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY TIP SHEET
The key conclusions that polling experts at Penn Schoen Berland draw from their survey of likely Democratic primary voters:

STATUS QUO
ADVANTAGE: QUINN

Christine Quinn is seen as the status quo candidate, supported by voters who want the next mayor to continue Michael Bloomberg's agenda. Among such Democrats, Quinn leads with 37 percent of the vote. However, only 18 percent of Democrats want the next mayor to stay on the Bloomberg path, while 77 percent say it is time for a change.

KEY DEMOS
ADVANTAGE: DE BLASIO

Bill De Blasio is winning among a number of key demographic groups. He is ahead of his opponents among men (28 percent), women (29 percent), voters under 50 (27 percent), voters 50 and older (30 percent), white Democrats (35 percent), Manhattan voters (32 percent), and Brooklyn (30 percent). He is also tied for first with Bill Thompson in the Bronx (28 percent each) and Queens (24 percent each).

AFRICAN-AMERICANS
ADVANTAGE: THOMPSON

With African-Americans making up more than a quarter of the Democratic electorate, this can prove to be key for Bill Thompson. Thirty-five percent of likely African-American Democrats back Thompson while 29 percent of them support de Blasio. Quinn gets 10 percent.

VOTER TURNOUT
ADVANTAGE: THOMPSON

A low overall turnout on Sept. 10 will benefit Thompson. He is the favorite among older voters and labor household voters — groups that typically turn out in higher numbers. Twenty-eight percent of voters age 65 and older support him, while 26 percent favor de Blasio and 16 percent back Quinn. Among labor households, 33 percent of voters support Thompson, followed by de Blasio with 27 percent and Quinn with 13 percent.


Scroll down for detailed results from the amNewYork-News 12 poll of the Democratic and Republican primary races for New York City mayor.

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

Poll information and graphics:
Democrats
Republicans
Complete survey questions and answers

DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

Staten Island is not shown because the statistical sampling was too small.

• Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers August 22-27, 2013. The survey reached a total of 600 registered Democrats in New York City who are likely to vote in the September 2013 Democratic primary. Telephone numbers for the sample were generated from a list of registered voters in New York City and included both landline and cell phones.

• The margin of error for the total sample is +/-4.00 percentage points and larger for the sub-groups.

• The survey is fully representative of likely Democratic primary voters in New York City. To ensure a comprehensive representation of the likely electorate, the data have been slightly weighted by gender, age, and borough.


REPUBLICAN PRIMARY

Scroll down for detailed results from the amNewYork-News 12 poll of the Republican primary race for New York City mayor. The poll, conducted Aug. 22-27, surveyed 400 likely Republican primary voters via landline and cellphone and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The Bronx is not shown because the statistical sampling was too small.

• Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by telephone using professional interviewers August 22-27, 2013. The survey reached a total of 600 registered Democrats in New York City who are likely to vote in the September 2013 Democratic primary. Telephone numbers for the sample were generated from a list of registered voters in New York City and included both landline and cell phones.

• The margin of error for the total sample is +/-4.00 percentage points and larger for the sub-groups.

• The survey is fully representative of likely Democratic primary voters in New York City. To ensure a comprehensive representation of the likely electorate, the data have been slightly weighted by gender, age, and borough.

COMPLETE SURVEY RESULTS


amNewYork - News 12 poll, Democratic primary likely voters


amNewYork - News 12 poll of NYC GOP primary likely voters

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