With a week left before Primary Day in New York City, and early voting already underway, mayoral candidates and their surrogates have spread out across the boroughs, striving to swing undecided voters their way.
A new Marist College poll out this week had the share of undecided voters down to 13%, with Kathryn Garcia winning 17% of voters’ support and Eric Adams at 24%, before any ranked-choice voting rounds. The poll found Garcia eventually lost to Adams in the 12th round of ranked-choice voting, with 44% of the votes to Adams 56%.
Asked about the latest poll at a Tuesday rally in Sunset Park, surrounded by supporters and a mariachi band, Adams smiled confidently.
“The last poll showed that in 12 rounds I win,” Adams said. “I think it's because of my stamina and that's why they say the champ is here. I'm like Muhammad Ali.”
On the Upper East Side, Kathryn Garcia said the mayoral race has winnowed down to a fight between her and Adams.
“I'm just looking at where the polls are tracking and what the momentum feels like out on the streets,” she said.
Although the latest polls showed dwindling support for Andrew Yang, the candidate said he was undeterred. “Our numbers show that this is anyone's race and that we have the momentum,” Yang said at an appearance in Kew Gardens.
Civil-rights attorney Maya Wiley, who has amassed a raft of progressive endorsements, has surged from single-digit support to 15% support and third place. “I don’t pay attention to polls. I pay attention to people,” she said outside the Brooklyn Public Library Tuesday afternoon. “New York wants a new kind of leadership.”
As Yang was in Queens, his wife Evelyn Yang traveled to the Bronx to stump alongside Councilmember Vanessa Gibson, a candidate for Bronx borough president.
“There’s a lot of work to do with engaging people and letting them know that their vote counts and that there is an election going on,” she said, greeting voters outside the Arthur Avenue Retail Market. “Every vote counts so they need to show up.”
At the edge of the crowd of Adams supporters in Sunset Park, several canvassers for Yang’s campaign lingered, wearing his campaign paraphernalia and holding signs. They were encouraging those gathered to rank Yang number two if Adams was already their first pick, though they all said they planned to rank Paperboy Prince after Yang.
“I know who I’m not voting for and I’m trying to figure out my three to five as we speak,” said 29-year-old Rafael Jason, a former bartender who lives in Bushwick.
At a nearby early voting site, 75-year-old Mary Cohen cast her ballot, ranking Yang followed by Ray McGuire and Kathryn Garcia.
“He's a businessman,” she said, explaining her vote for Yang. “When these political hacks say, you know, well, he's had no experience. Fine. Michael Bloomberg did well with no experience,”
Cohen said she was worried about an increase in shootings, but didn’t consider ranking Eric Adams, a former police officer who’s made public safety the centerpiece of his campaign. “He doesn’t give you a sense of hope,” she said.
Later that afternoon Maya Wiley joined City Council candidate Crystal Hudson outside the Brooklyn Public Library’s main branch to cross-endorse one another’s campaigns. Wiley crossed paths with voter Dee, a retired architect who declined to give her last name, on her way to vote at the Brooklyn Museum a few blocks away.
“No, I don’t support everything she supports,” said Dee, after meeting Wiley, referring specifically to Wiley’s pledge to decrease the police department budget in order to fund more community programs. Though as a Black woman, she said, she liked that Wiley was in the race and wished her luck. Asked who she intended to rank first, Dee said, “Definitely Eric. He’s been around, people know him,” she said. “He’s the guy.”
In the first three days of early voting, more than 40,000 voters have cast ballots early, according to the city’s Board of Elections. It’s the first time ranked-choice voting has been in place for citywide elections and many voters said they were enjoying it.
“You can avoid the distortions from strategic voting. You don’t have to vote for someone you don’t want just to keep a third candidate out,” said David Laibman, 78, who voted at Brooklyn Museum Tuesday afternoon. Laibman said he’d done a lot more research than he usually does and cobbled together a mix of endorsements from progressive unions and organizations, with the idea that they’d been able to vet candidates more thoroughly than he could, a process that led him to rank Maya Wiley as his first choice.
“You can vote for your favorite choice,” he said.
Carmen Martinez, 64, who lives in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, declined to say who she ranked but offered some advice to anyone who hadn’t yet made it to the polls.
“Vote your conscience, do your research,” she said. “Read about the candidates and make your choice. Feel good about it. There's nothing better than feeling good once you cast your vote—and I feel great.”