September 18, 1997 - New York Dem Voters Like Messinger 3-1 Over Sharpton, Quinnipiac College Poll Finds; But Mayor Leads Among Dems
By a 63 - 19 percent margin, New York City Democratic voters back Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger over Rev. Al Sharpton, if there is a Mayoral Primary Runoff, according to a Quinnipiac College Poll released today. Among Democrats who say they definitely or probably will vote, Messinger leads 69 - 22 percent.

Republican incumbent Rudolph Giuliani tops Ms. Messinger 49 - 42 percent among all registered Democrats, with no Republicans included in the sample.

Giuliani tops Rev. Sharpton 63 - 23 percent among Democrats.

The Mayor's overall approval among Democrats is 61 - 34 percent.

Messinger tops Sharpton in every measure in the sample of Democratic voters:
  • By a 48 - 27 percent margin, they think she has strong qualities of leadership, compared to 43 - 49 percent for Sharpton;
  • By 64 - 17 percent, voters say Messinger cares about them, compared to 42 - 48 percent for Sharpton;
  • They split 42 - 42 percent on whether Messinger is tough enough to deal with crime, compared to 41 - 49 percent for Sharpton;
  • By 49 - 35 percent, they trust Messinger, compared to 21 - 70 percent for Sharpton.
"Good news for Borough President Messinger as a runoff candidate. Bad news for Democrats as a party. The runoff -- if there is a runoff -- looks like a Messinger blow-out. But many Democrats say they'll vote Nov. 4 for Mayor Giuliani for a second term against either Democrat. And we don't need a poll to know what Republican voters will do," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac College Polling Institute.

"Most Democrats don't like Rev. Sharpton. They like Messinger, but many like Giuliani better. Overwhelmingly, they think the Republican Mayor is doing a good job, despite a campaign where Democratic candidates concentrated on hammering him.

"How many of these Giuliani Democrats actually will show up Tuesday to choose between Messinger and Sharpton and how will the candidates do getting their people out?"

If Messinger becomes Mayor, 17 percent expect race relations to get better, while 4 percent expect them to get worse and 70 percent expect them to stay the same.

If Sharpton is elected, 11 percent expect race relations to get better, while 51 percent expect them to get worse and 30 percent expect them to stay the same.

By a 74 - 13 percent margin, Democratic voters think Messinger has a better chance than Sharpton of beating Giuliani in the General Election.

Giuliani's favorability rating among Democrats is 44 - 24, with 29 percent mixed and 3 percent who don't know enough to form an opinion. Among Democratic contenders:
                        Favorable  Unfavorable  Mixed  Haven't heard enough
Ruth Messinger          27         13           30     29
Rev. Al Sharpton        14         53           25      8


Asked if the Abner Louima case will influence their vote, 19 percent say "a lot," while 9 percent say "some," 11 percent say "a little," and 59 percent say "not at all."

A total of 89 percent say police brutality is a "very serious" or "somewhat serious" problem, while 10 percent say it is "not very serious" or "not a problem."

"Democrats buy Republican Giuliani's argument that Sharpton isn't qualified to lead the city. Most of them don't trust him to make the right decisions as Mayor," Carroll said.

"Sharpton comes up short in almost every category Quinnipiac College measured. Only in 'toughness' does he come close to Messinger's favorable numbers."

From September 14 - 17, Quinnipiac College surveyed 404 New York City residents who say they are registered Democratic voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. The Quinnipiac College Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as a public service and for research.

Additional data available.