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De Blasio Leads Latest Poll As Mayoral Candidates Trade Barbs In Debate

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The Democratic candidates for mayor squared off in a spirited debate Tuesday night that featured attacks from all sides, which came on the same day that new poll numbers signal there may be a new frontrunner in the race. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

They came out swinging right from the starting bell, sometimes in a flurry of counter punches.

"If you look at Anthony [Weiner]'s record in Congress, it was passing one piece of legislation," said Democratic mayoral candidate Christine Quinn.

"I've apologized for my personal behavior," said Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner. "The speaker refuses to apologize for overturning the will of the people, for the slush fund scandal."

"Neither me nor anybody else on this stage, or any New Yorker, quite frankly, should be lectured by Anthony Weiner about what we need to apologize for," Quinn said.

Even as she sought to highlight her record as City Council speaker, Quinn absorbed blows for not only extending term limits, but also for foot-dragging on other legislation.

"Are we on a mayoral debate or are we on the Twilight Zone? Because speaker Quinn opposed living wage legislation every step of the way," said Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu.

"She delivered for the big business community by holding up the paid sick days legislation for three full years," said Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio.

Quinn, meanwhile, took swings at William Thompson's job performance.

"Bill Thompson doesn't want us to remember that when he was comptroller, our pension funds performed worse than similar pension funds across the country," she said.

She also took aim at de Blasio's job performance.

"When he was in the council for eight years, he didn't pass one bill to create a good-paying job," Quinn said.

Weiner, meanwhile, sometimes took on several opponents at once.

"The only difference between Speaker Quinn and Bill de Blasio is Speaker Quinn's been more successful," he said. "They made the same promises to the same people. She got elected speaker, and Bill's never gotten over it."

While the attacks on Quinn may reflect a frontrunner's status, it was de Blasio atop the latest Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday.

The surprising results show the public advocate in the lead with 30 percent support, followed by Quinn with 24 percent, Thompson with 22 percent and Weiner down at 10 percent.

Rounding out the field is Liu at six percent, Sal Albanese at one percent and seven percent undecided.

The poll represents a huge boost for de Blasio, nine points higher than the last poll just two weeks ago. He also defeats all comers in any potential runoff, according to the poll, including a 16 point edge over Quinn, 54 to 38.

Also worth noting: The Republican primary contest also appears to have tightened up, with Joe Lhota leading John Catsimatidis by just six points, 43 to 37, with George McDonald a distant third. However, the sample size is so small and the margin of error so high that Quinnipiac did not even report them.

The polling may reflect the fact de Blasio has been on the air with TV ads over the past week, though many of his rivals are now on the airwaves as well, with Thompson and Quinn each launching new ads Tuesday.

Tuesday night's debate may have been a slugfest, but it is still the early rounds of the fight. The candidates will meet many more times, including at the two official debates organized by the city's Campaign Finance Board. The first of them, sponsored by NY1, takes place next Wednesday, August 21.

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