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New York - New York City's Next Mayor Needs to Stay Focused on What Ails Us

Published on: November 1, 2009 04:18 PM
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New York - The expectations game remains an open question

All the big oddsmakers say that Republican Mayor Bloomberg is a shoo-in for re-election over Democrat Bill Thompson come Tuesday.

Polls by Quinnipiac University and Marist College give Bloomberg a lead of 15 to 16 percentage points.

FiveThirtyEight.com, a political Web site whose computer-modeled forecast accurately predicted the outcome of the presidential race in 49 out of 50 states last year, calls Thompson a 35-to-1 underdog.

Even PaddyPower.com, a sports book based in Ireland, is giving Hizzoner 80-to-1 odds in favor of purchasing a third term in office.

Not so fast.

Closer to home, savvy political insiders say the race, while tilted in Bloomberg’s favor, remains neck-and-neck - and that every vote will count.

“Everyone focuses on the spread in polls, the 16%. But it’s not relevant,” says Bruce Gyory, a Democratic strategist who’s not working for either side in the mayor’s race.

According to Gyory, the number to watch is the gap between the percentage of registered voters who say they favor Bloomberg - 47% - and the slightly higher percentage of those who say they are likely to actually vote for him, which has remained at 53% for months.


Given an incumbent who is universally known with unlimited funds, says Gyory, virtually all still-undecided voters will likely vote for Thompson.

“The race is now a 5% Bloomberg lead and shrinking,” he says. “Thompson can get to 47 or 48% by Tuesday if he closes strong.”

And Gyory, like the Thompson camp, notes that four years ago, the final polls predicted Democrat Fernando Ferrer would get 32% - only to see him end with 41%.

In other words, Bloomberg is ahead, but by much less than press reports suggest - making the race a squeaker that could be decided by unpredictable factors.

Nobody can measure the effect that Bloomberg’s overturning of term limits will have, for instance, because no mayor has ever attacked his citizens’ voting rights so brazenly.

Nobody knows how many core Democratic voters - black and union households in particular - will ignore the purchased endorsements of their pastors or union presidents and vote for Thompson.

And speaking of party, it’s worth noting that Democratic registration has increased 14% over the past four years, with a sizable number of black, Latino and young people going to the polls for the first time in last year’s presidential contest. It’s hard to say how, or whether, they will vote.

The Asian vote - rarely sampled by pollsters because it’s so small - will be a factor this year because of John Liu’s history-making presence on the ballot as controller.

Asian turnout will likely be double its usual 2%, and it’s fair to say most of them will favor Liu’s Democratic running mate, Thompson.

Finally, the expectations game remains an open question: We don’t know how many voters, inundated with mail, phone calls and TV ads, will assume that a purchased victory by the billionaire is a foregone conclusion and find something else to do on Tuesday.

I hope people act on Tuesday based on what everybody knows we will face in this town on Wednesday morning.

There will be 39,000 homeless people stretching the shelters to capacity and a mayor, Democrat or Republican, who said precious little during the campaign about how to help them.

On Wednesday morning, we’ll have a still-unresolved corruption investigation hovering over the City Council - a scandal the next mayor must aggressively root out and punish.

A spike in shootings in Central Brooklyn and other neighborhoods - many of them claiming an appalling number of teen murder victims - will still be a fact of life in a city routinely told that crime problems have either been solved or don’t much matter.

Come Wednesday, the middle-class exodus from New York City will continue, as families are unable to cope with the ever-rising taxes that sap household budgets.

And a multibillion-dollar budget deficit will all but guarantee massive municipal worker layoffs, although neither candidate has said which agencies will take the hit.

Most of all, we’ll have to stitch back together a badly frayed civic cloth. Preachers, pols and civic leaders who sold their endorsements or sat out the race will have to rebuild credibility in a city desperate for true leaders, rather than cash-hungry bookies playing the odds.

More of today's headlines

Dallas, TX - Natalie and Yohai Pinhas don't think it was Halloween pranksters that spray-painted obscene and anti-semitic graffiti on the sidewalk and near the front... New York - Lender CIT Group has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a potential blow to the thousands of small and mid-sized businesses that rely on the company...



Read Comments (11)  —  Post Yours »


 Nov 01, 2009 at 04:43 PM burdened Says:

and the main thing TICKETS TICKETS TICKETS lower the "amount" of the cost of parking Tickets (asking to stop the ticket giving is not a long term solution)


 Nov 01, 2009 at 07:04 PM Anonymous Says:

If u want thompson to win then pleease don't stay home on tuesday just go out and vote and take along all ur family and friends. We need every vote.


 Nov 01, 2009 at 06:57 PM Anonymous Says:

I believe that the numbers are much higher for Thopmson.
People are scared from Bloomberg.
The newspapaers and the media are making millions from the Bloomberg compaign, so for them it pays to spin a victory for him.
I wonder what would happen if a newspapar would write against him if they will get all the ads.
Also yeshivos are scared from him. Instead of making vouchers permanant he said he will take another look at it after election day. In other words vote for me if not forget about it.
I don't know if you go on the street and ask people who they will vote for most people will vent against Bloomberg either they will stay home or vote for Thompson just to protest Bloomberg.
I think the numbers are misleading.
Just look at the bloggers on VIN.
Maybe VIN should put out a poll.


 Nov 01, 2009 at 08:23 PM vote for Thompson Says:

It's Thompson all the way. make sure to get out and vote for him. Bloombug is just initiating new stuff like new taxes and and restoring priority 7 vouchers till june just to get back in but once in he locks the door and enjoyes the riches we give him. GO THOMPSON GO. May g-d bless you.


 Nov 01, 2009 at 08:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Don't worry about the tickets - just park legally and obey the rules.
let's worry about the property taxes which affects every legal homeowner and citizen of new york city.


 Nov 01, 2009 at 07:47 PM Anonymous Says:

It looks like Thompson has a good chance...


 Nov 01, 2009 at 06:50 PM bitel torah Says:

to all bloomberg suporters out there bloomy is leading in the polls by 15 points dont waste your time with voting just stay home


 Nov 01, 2009 at 06:49 PM Anonymous Says:

I hope Bloomberg loses by a large margin, but 2% will do as well.


 Nov 02, 2009 at 04:19 AM Gloomberg will do the job! Says:

Michael Bloomberg does what ails us and he will surely focus on doing an even better job if he is elected again.


 Nov 02, 2009 at 12:32 AM Anonymous Says:

People who stay home should have their wic, foodstamps,medicaid, section 8, Heap, Priority 7, cleaning lady, vacations, summer home all taken away.


 Nov 02, 2009 at 12:30 AM Anonymous Says:

Bloomberg said he will raise the ticket fines 3% in order to close this years budget gap.

Bloomberg said he is "optimistic" about priority 7 reinstatements.

I am also optimitic about voting Bloomberg.

Bloomberg raised the fares at the toll booth.

Bob Grant endorsed Bill Thompson
Senior editors at the Jewish Press and behind closed doors are voting for Thompson.

All this shows is that people are scared of the Mayor.


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