Screengrab from nypost.com
There’s a curious schism in how the New York City tabloids are covering today’s poll showing Democrat Bill de Blasio with a whopping lead over Republican Joe Lhota in the mayor’s race.
The New York Times/Siena College survey found de Blasio beating Lhota 68 percent to 19 percent among likely voters. But there’s not a peep about the poll on the website of Rupert Murdoch’s de Blasio–blasting New York Post. The site is, however, running other de Blasio stories, including an op-ed linking him, again, to the Sandinista’s alleged anti-Semitism, and a piece with the innuendo-light headline “Traitor! De Blasio’s a New England fan. ”
And while the Post did mention yesterday’s Quinnipiac University poll showing de Blasio beating Lhota 71-21, that story’s now buried, off even the metro page (where you can still find a Michael Goodwin column from September: “De Blasio’s warped world view should set off alarm bells”).
At first I thought, the Post simply doesn’t want to mention surveys sponsored by its New York Times archenemy. But it did so earlier, in covering other, less threatening races, like the Spitzer/Stringer primary race for comptroller. And unless I’ve missed something behind a pay wall, Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal site isn’t touching the Times/Siena poll either.
Maybe the Murdoch empire hasn’t reached the Mitt Romney/Karl Rove level of poll-denialism, but it’s like they just don’t want to endure more angina.
On the other hand, the New York Daily News (newly badass for its “House of Turds” cover) happily features both polls on its site today. And they have Lhota reacting to the lousy news, saying, “This race will get closer and closer over the next two weeks,” and vowing to close the gap with commercials and the upcoming three debates.
I agree with Lhota, to an extent: the gap will narrow. The Times/Siena poll found issues he could build traction on: voters agree more with him than de Blasio on creating more charter schools and keeping the controversial Ray Kelly as police commissioner, and they’re evenly split over stop-and-frisk, opposition to which helped vault de Blasio over his Democratic primary rivals.
But much, much larger majorities of likely voters are with de Blasio on raising taxes on the wealthy to fund pre-kindergarten programs (71 percent), making affordable housing a priority (85 percent), and creating an independent inspector general to monitor police (70 percent). Even on keeping the city safe from crime, de Blasio tops Lhota, 52 to 29.
Lhota, former head of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is poorly known: 43 percent of those surveyed hadn’t heard enough or had no opinon of Lhota, compared to 23 percent saying the same of Public Advocate de Blasio.
Still, Lhota’s first ad couldn’t position him more clearly: he’s against de Blasio on spending and raising taxes, but he’s a libertarian on social issues, favoring abortion rights, gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana, all positions Lhota brags he shares with de Blasio, the better to make Dems feel semi-comfortable with him. (Actually, de Blasio has come out only for decriminalization for possession of small amounts of pot.)
Drawing from his primary victory speech, de Blasio’s first general election ad takes a more emotional, we’re-all-in-this-together approach. “There are those who have said our ambition for this city is too bold, that we’re asking of the wealthiest New Yorkers too much, that we’re setting our sights for the children of this city too high,” de Blasio says, “Well, let me say this: We are New Yorkers. Thinking big isn’t new to us.”
Watch the ads below:
Leslie Savan exposes how the media recently tried to make de Blasio out to be a communist.