Underdog Lhota can't erase giant deficit, experts say
Joe Lhota expressed confidence Wednesday that he can win the New York City mayor’s race, but experts say a comeback is a long shot with 12 days until the election and an amNewYork-News 12 survey showing him at a 41-point disadvantage.
Coming off a stronger performance in his second debate against Bill de Blasio Tuesday night, Lhota said in morning TV interviews that he could still hit a “grand slam” — citing the game-winning homer that Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz delivered in the playoffs last week.
“Even if Joe Lhota hit a grand slam, he would still be losing,” pollster Mike Berland said. “His low poll numbers and favorability make it hard to come back this late in the game.”
Lhota, a Republican, lags his Democratic rival 23 percent to 64 percent among likely voters, according to the poll conducted by Penn Schoen Berland.
De Blasio has a commanding hold on voters across demographics in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1.
Democrats support de Blasio 75 percent to 12 percent, the poll found. Registered independents back de Blasio 51 percent to 35 percent. Among Republicans, Lhota leads 68 percent to 18 percent.
De Blasio, now the public advocate, leads 50 percent to 39 percent among white voters, 83 percent to 1 percent among African-American voters and 75 percent to 12 percent among Latino voters, the survey says.
Lhota’s unfavorables are higher than his favorables, 41 percent to 39 percent, according to the poll.
De Blasio is winning every borough, 66 percent to 21 percent in Manhattan, 66 percent to 15 percent in the Bronx, 70 percent to 20 percent in Brooklyn, where both candidates live, 59 percent to 29 percent in Queens and 44 percent to 38 percent in Staten Island.
Veteran political consultant Joseph Mercurio, assessing Lhota’s situation, said: “Have you ever seen a candidate close 40 points in two weeks without money?”
Paul Stremel, 37, a Republican postal service manager from Whitestone, Queens, who participated in the poll, said he was lukewarm on Lhota until Tuesday’s debate performance, but is now in his corner.
“He fought back this time, which was nice to see,” Stremel said.
Asked whether Lhota could win, Stremel chuckled and said, “No. He’s got no chance.”
Lhota disagrees. “The majority of New Yorkers line up with me on the issues,” he said on WNYW’s “Good Day New York” Wednesday.
De Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan declined to respond.
(With Matthew Chayes)