Politico

Yang falls behind Adams for first time in New York mayor’s race poll


NEW YORK — Eric Adams is leading the field of mayoral candidates in a new poll, marking the first time Andrew Yang is not the top contender since he shook up the race with his unexpected entry in mid-January.

Adams, the Brooklyn Borough president, was the first-place pick for 21 percent of the respondents in a three-day survey conducted by Washington, D.C.-based firm GQR, according to a copy of the survey obtained by POLITICO. Yang followed at 18 percent, and City Comptroller Scott Stringer had 15 percent support.

The poll of 500 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted over the course of three days last week, during which Stringer’s campaign was rocked by a 20-year-old accusation of sexual assault.

No other candidate cracked double digits, and 11 percent of those polled reported being undecided ahead of the June 22 primary to replace outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Until now, Adams has generally ranked second to Yang, though a poll conducted by charter school organization Students First recently found him inching closer to the first-time mayoral candidate who has received the most media coverage — albeit much of it critical.

But Adams, who has yet to spend any of his $7.9 million campaign war chest on TV ads, typically gets the second-highest amount of media attention, according to someone involved in the race who tracks that metric.

A former police officer who speaks openly about being assaulted by police officers when he was a teenager, Adams has been almost singularly focused on the rise in gun violence across the city. Where Yang is looking to capture the mood of an electorate anxious for New York to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic, Adams is positioning himself as the candidate vowing to tackle a steady spike in crime.

Adams dominated with Black voters, garnering 47 percent of their support, compared to 11 percent of whites and 8 percent of Hispanics polled. Yang, by comparison, polled best with Hispanics — 22 percent — compared to 17 percent of white voters and 12 percent of Black voters.

Stringer did best of the eight candidates polled among white voters, seizing 24 percent, even as his campaign became embroiled in responding to an allegation that he groped a campaign volunteer in 2001. Though he denied the accusation, many of his left-leaning supporters quickly abandoned his bid. He has said he has no intention of abandoning his mayoral run.

“Every other poll has us in first place, but we’ve always said this would be a close race,” Yang co-campaign manager Chris Coffey said. “The only poll that really matters is the one on June 22 and we expect to win that one.”

Evan Thies, spokesperson for Adams, said the poll “shows what we have seen on the ground for months — that New Yorkers want Eric to be the next mayor because they share his vision for a safer, fairer city where prosperity is shared by all.”

The results are disappointing for the two candidates who have spent the most on TV ads — Shaun Donovan and Ray McGuire — who are at 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Between their own campaigns and multimillion-dollar expenditures on their behalf, each has been on air consistently in recent months, advertising their life stories and policy chops.

“It’s clear this race is wide open and will break late, and this poll is yet another that speaks to exactly that dynamic,” said senior Donovan adviser, Rick Fromberg. “It’s also important to remember that the candidate who was in Shaun Donovan’s position at this stage of the race in 2013 is the current mayor.”

Of those polled, 55 percent identified themselves as liberal, 27 percent as moderate and 14 percent as conservative. Both Adams and Yang are running on relatively moderate messages, and both have been identified as concerns for a political action committee fundraising to elect a progressive mayor.

Forty percent of those polled were white; 30 percent Black; 19 percent Hispanic; and 7 percent Asian.

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