Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota has failed to deflate Democrat Bill de Blasio's lead with three weeks to go until Election Day, as two-thirds of likely New York City voters back the front-runner in a new poll.
De Blasio, the city's public advocate, outpolled Lhota 67 percent to 23 percent among likely voters in the NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released Thursday. Two percent of likely voters supported Independence Party nominee Adolfo Carrion and 1 percent backed another candidate. Seven percent of likely voters surveyed said they were undecided.
"It’s about as lopsided as you can envision," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
A majority of New York City voters wants a break from Mayor Bloomberg, with 66 percent of registered voters saying they want the city to move in a different direction, while 29 percent want his policies to continue.
According to the poll, most New Yorkers believe de Blasio is the man to bring about that change. His commanding lead has held steady since the September primary -- Marist's first general-election poll in mid-September showed de Blasio with a 43-point advantage.
The Democratic front-runner continues to outpace Lhota, a former MTA head, in virtually all demographics cross-sections analyzed in the poll. His support is particularly strong among voters of color; he leads Lhota 89 percent to 4 percent among black likely voters, and 76 percent to 14 percent among Latino likely voters. He also leads among whites, 57 percent to 33 percent.
Voters also favored de Blasio on a variety of issues facing the city, including improving public schools and lowering crime.
Splashy headlines about de Blasio's past, including reports of his honeymoon trip to Cuba and past support for Nicaragua's left-wing Sandinistas in the 1980s, have "not changed the dynamic one iota," Miringoff said. Seventy-two percent of voters said those elements of de Blasio's biography make no difference to them, 16 percent say it makes them less likely to vote for him and 8 percent say it makes them more likely.
Lhota's approval rating remains mostly unchanged, with 43 percent of registered voters saying they have an unfavorable view of the candidate and 32 percent expressing positive marks. De Blasio is viewed favorably by 65 percent of voters.
The numbers, Miringoff said, suggest that Lhota is not only failing to gain traction, but is "not on the radar screen for voters in terms of really getting consideration." While some room remains for him to win over voters through television ads and debates, including an Oct. 29 debate sponsored by NBC 4 New York, Miringoff said it would take a "tidal wave" to move the race into competitive territory.
The results of the poll, which was conducted Sunday through Tuesday, were based on responses from 495 likely voters and 969 registered voters. It has a plus or minus 4.4 percentage point margin of error for likelies, and 3.1 for registered.