On Eve of Election, Bloomberg’s Lead Narrows Slightly; Still Up 12 Points


thompson-bloombergNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Democratic challenger spent the final day of the campaign shoring up support and readying get-out-the-vote forces as a new poll showed Bloomberg’s lead had shrunk. The billionaire is on track to spend more than $100 million of his own money on his bid for a third term, already the most expensive self-financed campaign in U.S. history and likely 10 times William Thompson Jr.’s total when all the bills are in.He has flooded airwaves and mailboxes with advertisements, but has still had to overcome some voter resentment over the way he hastily persuaded the City Council to change term limits last year so he could run for another term.

The former Republican, who is not in any party but will appear on the GOP and Independence Party lines, had long insisted he supported term limits before changing course last year.

The latest Quinnipiac University survey found Thompson, the city’s comptroller, 12 points behind Bloomberg, tighter than the 18-point gap a week earlier. The poll said 50 percent support Bloomberg, while 38 percent backed Thompson. About 10 percent were undecided.

“Most people think he’s done a good job as mayor and he’s spending $100 million to tell people what a great guy he is,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the polling institute.

The mayor spoke with restrained optimism Monday when he was asked whether he was aiming for a blowout Tuesday or would just be happy with a victory that just squeaks by.

“A win is a win, but you’d always like to have more,” he said. “Nobody’s going to remember two days later how much you won by. They’re only going to remember who’s going to be mayor for the next four years.”

Bloomberg began the day greeting voters on the Staten Island ferry and at the terminal, where a woman wearing a Thompson campaign sticker brushed past him and said “Mayor Bloomberg, you’re a disgrace.”

“Thank you, very nice,” he told her.

He got a much better reception at a Staten Island bakery and a Brooklyn cake shop – two stops on a tour of small businesses in every borough today. Passers-by stopped to take photos and chat with the mayor, telling him he was sure to win Tuesday.

Thompson, meanwhile, campaigned in Harlem and then went to Chinatown with a popular fellow Democrat, John Liu, who won the primary for Thompson’s job and is expected to easily defeat his Republican opponent.

Thompson, who has criticized Bloomberg’s policies as favoring the rich while hurting the middle class, told voters at a senior center that Tuesday is the “day of decision” and said, “If we vote, we will bring real change to New York City.”

Both mayoral campaigns were organizing their Election Day efforts, as aides to both candidates predicted low turnout.

The Thompson campaign, funded by donations and matching funds, is smaller and less sophisticated than Bloomberg’s, but both sides are knocking on doors, calling voters and offering rides to the polls.

The latest Quinnipiac poll of 1,360 likely voters was conducted Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 and had a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

{AP/1010 WINS/Matzav.com Newscenter}