Bill de Blasio's top finish in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor rested on support from a broad range of demographic groups. He topped his rivals among whites and Hispanics, men and women, and voters at all income levels. The results of an Edison Research exit poll also showed Bill Thompson capitalizing on support among black voters and those disenchanted with Mayor Michael Bloomberg to top Christine Quinn for second place.
Here's a look at some of the key findings from an exit poll of voters in Tuesday's New York City Democratic primaries:
A NEW DIRECTION
Three-quarters of New York City Democratic primary voters said the next mayor ought to move the city away from Bloomberg's policies, according to the exit poll, and 32 percent said they were seeking a candidate for mayor who "can bring needed change." De Blasio carried about half the vote among those groups, while Quinn held a broad edge among the 20 percent who preferred to keep the city moving in Bloomberg's direction.
LOOKING BACK ON BLOOMBERG
Seventy percent of primary voters surveyed said it was a bad idea to allow Bloomberg to run for a third term in office in 2009. The mayor heads toward the end of his term with those voting today divided on the way he handled his 12 years in office — 48 percent approved, 49 percent disapproved. Among those voters who disapprove, Thompson and de Blasio nearly split the vote.
Bloomberg earns high marks from the most liberal Democratic voters — 58 percent of very liberal voters approved of his work as mayor — yet de Blasio, who campaigned on a message of change, drew strong backing among these voters. Voters who describe themselves as more moderate or conservative divided about evenly between de Blasio and Thompson.
The race was too close to determine immediately whether a runoff would be necessary, but if one is held on Oct. 1, the exit poll suggests de Blasio would be the favorite. A majority say they would back him over Thompson in a runoff, 52 percent to 34 percent. Only about half of Quinn's supporters say they would back Thompson, 18 percent say they would sit it out.
RATING THE CITY'S ECONOMY
About a third of voters called jobs and unemployment the top issue in deciding their vote for mayor, and most rated the city's economy not good or poor. De Blasio topped the field among those who called jobs their top campaign issue, while those focused on crime split about evenly between de Blasio and Thompson.
POLITICS OF THE PERSONAL
Quinn would have been the city's first openly gay mayor, yet she did not carry the votes of gay New Yorkers — de Blasio led her 47 percent to 34 percent among gay voters.
Anthony Weiner, whose run for mayor marked an attempt to revive a political career derailed by scandal, ended the race deeply disliked by New York Democrats. About three-quarters say they have an unfavorable impression of him. Eliot Spitzer, who lost the comptroller's race Tuesday while seeking a comeback from his own sex scandal, fares somewhat better, with 49 percent expressing a favorable view and 46 percent an unfavorable one.
Agiesta reported from Washington. The exit poll of 2,048 New York City Democratic Primary voters was conducted for AP and other media outlets by Edison Research in a random sample of 40 precincts citywide. Results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.