Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bloomberg Hearing Footsteps

According to the latest NY1 poll, the upcoming mayoral race may turn out to be a real barn burner: "Nine months before the 2009 NYC Mayoral Election, incumbent Michael Bloomberg leads his two top potential opponents in his quest for a third term, but the Mayor does not top the crucial 50% mark against either. The fact that the Mayor is not at 50% is surprising, given his high approval ratings and his 2005 landslide victory."

Bloomberg holds a slim seven point lead over Anthony Weiner, who himself polls slightly ahead of Comptroller Thompson in the Democratic primary: "In the Democratic Primary contest, the race is far from decided, with a plurality (36%) of Democratic voters unsure about their support. At this point, Anthony Weiner leads at 31% , with Thompson at 22%, and Councilman Tony Avella at only 4%. In addition to the 36% undecided, another 6% of Democrats say they won’t bother to vote in the democratic Primary."

This poll does give many of us some cause for a degree of optimism that Mike Bloomberg, particularly after spitting in the face of the electorate on term limits, may have over stayed his welcome. As the NY Post reports: "Mayor Bloomberg leads his closest Democratic challenger, Rep. Anthony Weiner, by a wobbly 7 points, a new poll shows - an unexpectedly close margin certain to send a jolt through the mayor's third-term re-election campaign."

And term limits just might be a tipping point: "Privately, mayoral aides are concerned that last year's bruising battle over term limits - in which the mayor reversed his own earlier position and convinced the City Council to change the rules through legislation - may carry over to Election Day. "The poll numbers have to make you think term limits is having some effect," said the analyst."

The mayor's slippage, especially when seen in the light of his failure to yet capture any major party ballot line, means that potential donors could be about to open their wallets in anticipation that this mayor-in spite of his great wealth, and willingness to spend it-could be upset in November. What a pleasant thought: arrogance may actually have a price for Mike Bloomberg.

From our vantage, Mike Bloomberg's political passing is long overdue. There has never been a more over hyped mayor in our memory-and never one who was more indifferent, or even hostile, to the neighborhood businesses of this city. Put simply, Mike Bloomberg has been the best friend that the big real estate interests have ever had-simply because his ability to appear not to be beholden to them, has given him the leeway to be their apotheosis.

Mike Bloomberg is now the country's biggest philanthropic giver. He should continue this trend by giving a big gift to the citizens of New York-just walk away from a third term bid and leave the city with a new chief executive. Now that would really demonstrate selflessness.