This year, however, the race is barely a blip on the radar. With a little over three months until the Democratic primary that could be tantamount to winning overall in a heavily Democratic city, we really have no idea what’s going to happen.
Basically, there are a slew of variables that make this race harder to predict than most.
Based on the data available, there’s good reason to believe Yang, who ran for president in 2020, is ahead and perhaps considerably so. He’d been the top choice in every poll of the race.
There has not, however, been a single poll taken and released for a group that isn’t partisan or doesn’t do lobbying in the city. This is extremely unusual.
I went back and checked out mayoral primaries since 1985. Every single one of those had at least two nonpartisan primary polls taken by early March. Every single primary since 1993 had at least five nonpartisan polls conducted testing different possible candidates.
Instant runoff voting allows voters to rank the candidates from 1 through 5. If a candidate has a majority, she or he wins. If not, voters whose first choice has the fewest number of votes will have their votes reallocated to their second choice. This process repeats itself to the point at which a candidate receives a majority of the vote.
Other candidates who could benefit from a similar phenomenon include Adams, Stringer and Wiley. All have either served a considerable number of city residents through elected office (Adams as Brooklyn borough president and Stringer as city comptroller) or are known from television (Wiley as an MSNBC legal analyst).
This means the candidates will have a limited amount of time to get their message out.
The shorter campaign season comes as the city is climbing its way out of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s hobbled in-person campaigning, and the pandemic itself has taken up a lot of media attention.
Where exactly the voters stand on how best to recover from the pandemic is entirely unclear because we don’t really have the data to know.
Additionally, the candidates need to navigate their relationships with de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The bottom line is there is a lot we don’t know. With a little over three months to go until the primary, a lot may shift.
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