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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Battle for City Hall

City Hall

January 19, 2005 - Bloomberg Ties Ferrer, Tops Other Dems Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Mayor's Scores With Blacks, Hispanics Improve

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Fernando Ferrer, the leading Democratic challenger in this year’s mayoral race, are tied 43 – 43 percent among New York City voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 45 – 40 percent Ferrer lead in a November 10, 2004, poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, a lead which had been constant through months of polling.

In this latest survey, Mayor Bloomberg tops other Democratic challengers:

• 43 – 38 percent over Council Speaker Gifford Miller;

• 44 – 39 percent over Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields:

• 43 – 36 percent over U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner;

• 46 – 31 percent over Council member Charles Barron.

In the matchup with Ferrer, white voters back the Mayor 57 – 30 percent, as black voters back Ferrer 57 – 25 percent and Hispanic voters back Ferrer 57 – 29 percent.

In the last polling done on the race, before the gay marriage issue came up, Bloomberg, who lacks the racial animus which defined Giuliani's mayorality, is still fairly unpopular with minorities, who oddly enough, vote in equal numbers for Ferrer.

The fact that he polled so poorly against Charles Barron should be considered a warning sign. Barron, who's the city's leading black nationalist, and barely known outside Brooklyn and New York 1, managed to get a third of the city's vote. There is a lot of unresolved anger about the Dorismond and Diallo murders. Bloomberg is viewed warily by many, and if the black pols decide he has to go, read Sharpton, then he's got problems his money can't surmount. The old days where Herman Badillo got screwed by the Harlem pols is over.

Al Sharpton, despite his flaws, is still the kingmaker of city politics. He's got ties to the gay community and hispanics by getting arrested for their causes. He's not going to dick over Ferrer if he thinks he can be mayor. The days of Basil Patterson and Denny Farrell making backroom deals are over. Only one person makes those deals, and it's Sharpton. He strides both the Harlem and Brooklyn black power bases and is the single most popular politician among both blacks and hispanics in the streets. If he backs Ferrer, black voters will too.

The recent media talk about evangelicals and the hispanic vote should be regarded as a joke. First of all, Ruben Diaz talks out of his ass on a daily basis. He was also a Giuliani lackey and was chased off the school board for his homophobia. These people, as far as I can tell, and this comes from living in a Hispanic neighborhood, are apolitical at best. They have NEVER jumped into a local race for as much as district leader.

Look, the last two council members from the lower east side were openly gay and hispanic, and Diaz was as much a homophobe then as now. For all his bluster, he hardly represents the entire evangelical community. Many of those churches are black and Asian as well. And they are still outnumbered by the Catholics and santeria followers. No one polls them, but they have influence as well, enough to keep a lot of Botanicas in business. Puerto Rican nationalism is still a pretty strong force and the idea of having a Puerto Rican mayor is way too appealing to toss away over gay marriage. I would treat Diaz in the same regard as I treat Armstrong Williams.

Second, aliens can't vote, and the immigrants to my neighborhood are Mexican. So he can drag 5,000 people into the street, but the odds of many of them voting are minimal.

Gay marriage will upset the Hassids as well, but the fact is that it isn't going to be enough to trump the union's power. See, you can talk about this mythical, never seen evangelical vote all day long. But it's like vapor. The real vote is the union vote, and DC 37 is going to make sure Bloomberg is defeated. Why people persist in worrying about some factor which has NEVER existed in New York politics over the open hatred the city's unions have for Bloomberg is beyond me. It may be a factor, when we start election Mexican council members. Until then, it's a news story, not a political fact.

Relations between City Hall and the unions is miserable. He will not give up decent contract wage hikes while pimping the Olympics and that infernal stadium. They have the most vested interest in voting him out and getting a friendly mayor and governor. The problem is that I would bet that the unions rally around Ferrer early and loudly, especially the teachers and health care workers, which will clearly trump some ministers in the Bronx.

However, what gay marriage does is this: cuts the support for Bloomberg.

Gays are large political investors. This issue gives them every incentive to support anyone but Bloomberg, and if I had to choose, alienating upwards of a million gays is not worth the risk. Not for the money or the political organization.

Toss on opposition to the stadium, which is a key weakness for Bloomberg now, and there is a race to be run.

One other factor, with a call, Freddie Ferrer has a field operation. The unions will clearly open their doors and send their people into the streets for him. Bloomberg has to buy one and that's always a danger. Especially when he's facing a primary against Queens redneck Tom Ognibene. It would be amusing if he won, but many of the right wingers, like Mike Long, want to push him to the right and that's suicide in a citywide bid.

Remember, the demogrpahics of the city has changed since 1993. The majority of the city's voters are non-white. Which is why it's critical for Bloomberg to get black and hispanic votes, something he isn't doing now.

As always, turnout is going to be key. High turnout, especially driven by minority voting, means Bloomberg loses.

Bloomberg's biggest problem is a tone deafness towards criticism. He tends to go past it.

Also, the RNC was very unpopular here, and the trials against the city could explode during the middle of the campaign.

Bloomberg is far more likely to pay for his stand on gay marriage than Ferrer, because all it will take is a few black and Latino politicians to ridicule the idea of this being important and it dies, even with a court ruling, because given the way Albany is set up, no repeal is possible. No matter how many sexy headlines it causes, the cost of the stadium will be more important as the MTA raises fares. Bloomberg pretty much lost a block of votes with his filing the appeal and the question is how angry are the gay activists. My bet, angry enough to work against him hard.

As far as Gifford Miller goes, inconsequential joke and a weak leader. He's mangled two controveries in the City Council and is timid.

Virginia Fields will be shoved out of the race like Charles Barron was. There are serious black politicians who could have run for mayor and didn't. She is not going to make it.

Anthony Weiner is a man in search of a promotion which isn't coming. He will have to wait his turn, But he sure can campaign.

posted by Steve @ 12:03:00 AM

12:03:00 AM

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