NEW YORK — New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley saw a massive jump in support this week following major endorsements from progressives and scandals surrounding several of her rivals, according to a new PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College poll released Wednesday.
Of the voters surveyed on Monday and Tuesday, 17% said they would choose Wiley as their top candidate for mayor, placing her second in a crowded field of candidates vying to replace term-limited Mayor Bill de Blasio. That’s a substantial surge from 9% of votes from PIX11’s flash poll released on May 25.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has maintained a steady presence at or near the top of PIX11’s polls, led the survey with 23% of voter support. Adams also showed progress in growing his base of supporters, rising from 20% in the last PIX11 poll.
Rounding out the top five candidates were Andrew Yang at 15%; Kathryn Garcia — the frontrunner in PIX11’s last poll — at 12%; and city Comptroller Scott Stringer at 9%.
Meanwhile, with just two more days until early voting begins, 12% of those polled said they were still undecided on who they will vote for in the Democratic primary.
Primary day will be held on June 22. Early voting begins on Saturday.
What the poll says about Wiley’s sudden rise
The former counsel to de Blasio has been picking up high-profile endorsements from progressive lawmakers, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman. However, the poll showed Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement in particular had a negligible impact on voters.
When asked if the endorsement made voters more or less likely to vote for Wiley, 42% said it had no impact. Those who did have an opinion were split, with 29% of voters saying the endorsement made them more likely to vote for Wiley and 29% saying it made them less likely to vote for her.
What is more likely impacting Wiley’s rise, according to the poll, is the loss of voter support for other candidates running campaigns similar in ideology.
Stringer, meanwhile, was faced with a second, decades-old accusation of sexual harassment, which was first reported by the New York Times on Friday. Nearly 44% of voters said they were less likely to vote for Stringer because of the additional accusation of sexual misconduct. Previous polling had shown voters were not sure what to make of the first accusation leveled by Jean Kim in April.
The comptroller’s support notably dropped from the 15% support he had in a PIX11 poll from early May.
Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson College Polling, also pointed to Garcia’s drop in support as a likely contributing factor.
“While the AOC endorsement helped Wiley increase her support, it appears to have come at the detriment of Garcia and Morales. However, it does not seem to have affected the leader of the race, Adams, who has been able
to extend his support with two weeks until the election,” Kimball said.
Top issues for voters ahead of primary day
Crime remained a growing concern among voters heading into the start of early voting. When asked which issue should be the next mayor’s top priority — regardless of who wins the election — 31% said crime, 12% said police reform, 12% said housing, 11% said jobs, and 8% said homelessness.
While crime was also the top issue for voters in PIX11’s last poll, the percent of those who chose crime as the problem that the next mayor needs to tackle first rose by 11 points.
When asked which candidate would best handle crime in New York City, an overwhelming 40% chose Adams, a former NYPD captain. No other candidate received more than 9% of voter support.
De Blasio endorsement could hurt — not help — candidate
The mayor has yet to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary, and that may well be to the benefit of the candidates.
When asked whether an endorsement from de Blasio would make them more or less likely to support that candidate, 39% of voters said less likely and 14% said more likely.
Nomination in Republican primary very much up for grabs
The new PIX11 survey also tried to gauge whether there was a clear frontrunner in the Republican primary race, however, the poll found voters were still split.
Of the 250 Republicans surveyed, the poll found Guardian Angels founder and radio host Curtis Sliwa had 33% of support, businessman and activist Fernando Mateo with 27% support, and 40% of voters were undecided. The margin of error was fairly high, due to the limited sample size, at +/-6.1%.
Voters slowly understanding ranked choice voting
The poll also showed encouraging signs that voters have begun to understand the new ranked choice voting system, with 64% saying they’ve heard a lot about it and 25% having heard a little about it.
Of those surveyed, 87% said they had a second choice in the mayoral race and 72% had a third choice. Voters were also asked about their fourth and fifth choices.
Leading candidates Adams, Wiley, Yang and Garcia gathered more votes during round two. Garcia picked up the most votes in round three.
In a PIX11 poll conducted in early May, only 45% of voters had a second choice and 35% of voters had a third.
For the Democratic primary, ranked choice voting and candidate-specific questions, the poll’s sample size was 725, with a margin of error of +/-3.6%. For the general most important issue question, the sample size was 1,162, with a margin of error of +/-2.8%.