Finally, the mayoral race is showing some life.
The Democrat hoping to challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the general election has gained some ground against the billionaire Republican-turned-independent.
City Comptroller William Thompson trails Bloomberg 47 to 37 percent, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. The 10-point gap is less than half of Bloomberg's 54 to 32 percent lead last month.
Thompson's biggest gains are among black voters, who back him 56 to 30 percent – a 13-point jump over last month – and Democrats, who shifted their support for Bloomberg to 45 to 42 percent in favor of the comptroller. Thompson also has an edge in support in the Bronx and ties the mayor – 42 percent apiece – in Brooklyn. Bloomberg carries the other three boroughs, Republicans and Independents.
"It was starting to look as if they might hold an election and no one would come," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But now there's a little life in the mayoral race as Comptroller Bill Thompson gains some ground on Mayor Michael Bloomberg."
Things have been heating up on the campaign trail as of late. Thompson launched a blazing attack last week on Bloomberg's record of education, accusing him of inflating graduation rates. The excoriated Bloomberg campaign fired back, saying things were worse when Thompson was on the board of education in the 1990s so he shouldn't talk.
Voters are also getting fed up with the mayor's campaign spending, which may help explain the shift. Sixty-one percent of voters agree Bloomberg's spending is overkill – up from 56 percent last month, the poll found.
Whatever the reason, Thompson is inching up in the polls. He's closer than Democrat Fernando Ferrer was at this point in 2005, when he lost by 19 points, Carroll said.
"Mayor Mike's approval is down a bit, but still better than most elected officials in states Quinnipiac University surveys," she added. "And 59 percent of New York City voters are satisfied with the way things are going, not bad in a recession and a budget crisis."
Sixty-three percent of voters approve of the job Bloomberg is doing; that's his lowest approval rating since his second term began in 2005 and down three points since June.
New York voters give the mayor a 59 to 34 percent favorability rating. Only 38 percent of those polled say they view Thompson favorably, but 52 percent say they didn't know enough about him to form an opinion. Still, it appears Thompson is slowly getting his name out there, which could provide a boost for his campaign. Last month, 63 percent of voters said they didn't know enough about Thompson to form an opinion.
The poll surveyed 1,290 registered city voters from July 21 to July 27. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.