While I'm still recovering from last night's wild and wooly debate for Brooklyn District Attorney, I'm also contemplating the new Quinnipiac poll numbers that give Bill de Blasio his first lead in the Democratic mayoral race.
When Anthony Weiner jumped into the deep end of the political pool in late May, the conventional wisdom was that the candidate he would hurt most was de Blasio. This may be one of those cases where conventional wisdom was dead right. Looking back at the Q poll from July 24th, Weiner was in first place at 26% while de Blasio was in fourth place with 15%. (Thompson was at 20% while Quinn had 22%). De Blasio and Weiner have essentially switched places with De Blasio picking up 15 percentage points – and Weiner losing 16 points. Meanwhile, Quinn and Thompson have stayed at about the same level where they were three weeks ago.
So – if this poll is to be believed -- why has de Blasio done so well?
Weiner's spectacular implosion created an opening for all of the other candidates. Admitting that he had again strayed via Twitter after he had resigned from Congress made many voters – who were already unsure about Weiner – downright queasy about him.
With Weiner's nosedive, the white liberal vote has been up for grabs. While Quinn can play the "I'm the only adult in the room" card very well, she cannot really grasp the mantel of New York City liberalism for several reasons, including her push to extend term limits and her delayed support of the paid sick leave and the living wage bills. Although John Liu has tacked far to the left, his fundraising scandal has tainted him in the eyes of good-government types while Bill Thompson has in many ways tried to be all things to all people by aiming for the middle ground.
So it makes sense that the candidate who got arrested to protest the closing of a hospital, the candidate who has a wonderful -- and biracial -- family, the candidate who is woefully talking about "two cities", is having his moment in the sun.
But as several reporters were cautioning yesterday on Twitter (including the New York Post's Sally Goldenberg and Politico's Edward-Issac Dovere), let's not hyperventilate over one poll. This will be a very busy month filled with debates, speeches, ads, and gaffes. But with one month to go before the primary, de Blasio can be happy knowing he's elevated himself into the top tier of the race.