May surprise: Garcia surges to the top in latest NYC mayor’s race poll

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Mayoral Candidate Kathryn Garcia held a press conference outside of Open Door Senior Center on 168 Grand St, urging the Mayor to reopen the city’s senior centers on May 13.
Photo by Dean Moses

All of a sudden, former New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has jumped to the top of the field in the wide-open Democratic primary race for mayor, according to the latest Emerson College/PIX11 News poll released Tuesday afternoon.

Garcia rocketed from fourth to first from the survey the outlets conducted between May 13-15 to the new one taken between May 23-24. The latest poll has Garcia up one point on Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, 21% to 20%, followed by entrepreneur Andrew Yang with 16%. 

In the May 13-15 poll, Garcia drew the support of just 8% of voters; her support increased between surveys by 13%, the most among any candidate in the field. 

Garcia may have benefited from gaining the support of previously undecided voters, the number of which dropped significantly between the last two Emerson College/PIX11 News polls — from 23% between May 13-15 to just 9% in the new survey.

Adams, meanwhile, saw his support increase by 2% between the surveys, from 18% to 20%. Yang — who once had 32% of the support of those polled in a March Emerson College/PIX11 News survey — has seen his numbers cut in half since then.

Also seeing a drop-off in support in the last two polls is City Comptroller Scott Stringer, mired in a sexual harassment scandal, who went from 15% between May 13-15 to 10% between May 23-24 — placing him fourth in the current standings.

Civil rights attorney Maya Wiley checks in fifth at 9%, followed by nonprofit founder Dianne Morales at 7%, former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan at 5%, former Citicorp executive Ray McGuire at 2% and attorney Aaron Foldenauer at 2%. No other candidate polls above 1%.

Courtesy Emerson College

The May 23-24 Emerson/PIX11 survey asked participants to rank their top five choices for mayor — just as the voters will on Primary Day — in order to simulate the results of the first-ever ranked choice vote for mayor. 

The simulation wound up going through 11 rounds of vote-counting, with the candidate with the least number of votes eliminated at the end of each round until one individual had a majority of votes. In that simulation, Garcia hit the magic number in the final round, getting 55.4% of the votes over Adams, who checked in with 44.6%.

Courtesy Emerson College

The poll found that Garcia performed best among white poll participants, gaining 45% of their support in the first round and eventually 86% in the final round. Adams continues to have the strongest support among Black participants, with 33% support in the first round and 84% in the final round. Among Hispanic participants, Adams held a slight edge over Garcia in the first round (26% to 17%) before Garcia edged clear in the final vote count with 53% of the vote.

The poll, which was conducted through a cellphone sample of SMS-to-web data and an online panel, has a margin of error of +/-  3.2%. 

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