September 23, 2009 - Liu Slightly Ahead In Comptroller Runoff, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Public Advocate Race A Dead Heat

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The Democratic primary runoff races for New York City Comptroller and Public Advocate remain close with City Council member John Liu slightly ahead in the Comptroller's race while the Public Advocate race is a dead heat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. With voter participation in the September 29 runoff election expected to be less than 10 percent, get- out-the vote efforts by the candidates could alter significantly the final outcome.

In the Democratic primary for City Comptroller, Liu has a slight 49 - 43 percent lead over Council member David Yassky among likely Democratic primary voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. Nine percent of voters are undecided.

The runoff race for Public Advocate is tied with 46 percent for Council member Bill deBlasio and 46 percent for former Public Advocate Mark Green, with 7 percent undecided.

"That clich‚ that they gave an election and nobody came might not be just a joke after all. Only about 10 percent of Democrats voted the first time around and less than that are likely in the runoff," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

"People who care about who should be New York City Comptroller and who should be Public Advocate care a lot, but there aren't many of them.

"Anything can happen in a tiny turn-out. One energized neighborhood, one pitch that appeals to a given group - ethnic, ideological, you name it - can make the difference. All we know today is that it's a little better to be Liu than to be Yassky."

"But no candidate (and, we have to admit, no pollster) can be comfortable with such a light likely vote. The Working Families Party scored the first time around as party loyalists got out the vote for preferred candidates. Let's see how they do in the run-offs," Carroll added.

Liu has the highest favorability among the four runoff candidates, 64 - 11 percent, with 24 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion. Favorability ratings among the others are:
  • Yassky: 52 - 12 percent, with 34 percent who haven't heard enough about him;
  • Green: 59 - 27 percent, with 9 percent who haven't heard enough about him;
  • deBlasio: 52 - 9 percent, with 39 percent who haven't heard enough about him.
From September 16 - 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 358 New York City likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and nationwide as a public service and for research. For more data or RSS feed - http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling.xml, or call (203) 582-5201.

1. (If registered Democrat) If the 2009 Democratic primary runoff for Comptroller were being held today and the candidates were John Liu and David Yassky, for whom would you vote? (If undecided q1) As of today, do you lean more toward Liu or Yassky? This table includes "Leaners".
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Liu                  49%
Yassky               43
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -
DK/NA                 9
 
 
2. (If registered Democrat) Is your opinion of - John Liu favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Favorable            64%
Unfavorable          11
Hvn't hrd enough     24
REFUSED               1
 
 
3.(If registered Democrat) Is your opinion of - David Yassky favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Favorable            52%
Unfavorable          12
Hvn't hrd enough     34
REFUSED               2
 
 
4. (If registered Democrat) If the 2009 Democratic primary runoff for Public Advocate were being held today and the candidates were Mark Green and Bill de Blasio, for whom would you vote? (If undecided q4) As of today, do you lean more toward Green or de Blasio?
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Green                46%
de Blasio            46
WLDN'T VOTE(VOL)      -
DK/NA                 7
 
 
5. (If registered Democrat) Is your opinion of - Mark Green favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Favorable            59%
Unfavorable          27
Hvn't hrd enough      9
REFUSED               4
 
 
6. (If registered Democrat) Is your opinion of - Bill de Blasio favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY DEMS
 
Favorable            52%
Unfavorable           9
Hvn't hrd enough     39
REFUSED               1