With polls showing him up by as much as 50 points in the New York City mayoral race, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio appears to be coasting to a landslide victory in November.
But some voters in Bayside, Queens, still are unsure whom they’ll vote for—if they vote at all—with less than a month to go until Election Day.
While plenty of Bayside residents passing by the intersection of Bell Boulevard and 48th Street said that they support de Blasio, the Democratic nominee, some said that they are still unsure about his candidacy. Others said they are still forming their opinions about the public advocate and his chief rival, Republican Joe Lhota.
Laura Puccio said she is planning to vote next month, but when asked whether she’s decided on a candidate, she said, “Not any more.”
“I don’t think I like de Blasio that much. I mean, I’m a liberal, but I don’t like him getting married in Cuba,” Puccio said, referring to what was actually his honeymoon on the island in 1994. “It says right on your passport: No North Korea, no Cuba. I don’t know how I feel about him.”
Puccio, a retired teacher, said she had leaned toward Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the one-time frontrunner who lost in the Democratic primary, but that she’s now up in the air. As for Lhota, she’d like to know more about him.
“I’m a third-generation Democrat, but …,” she said, trailing off.
Penelope Vasiliou, who is Greek American, mentioned fellow Greek John Catsimatidis as one candidate she had paid attention to, although he lost in the Republican primary. She said she hadn’t voted in years, and while she knows the two leading candidates by name, she said she probably wouldn’t vote this time around either.
Joe Polese, a retired iceman, said he was waiting until the debates to decide how he’ll cast his vote.
“See, I’m a registered Democrat, and if I don’t like the way a Democrat is talking, I’ll vote the other side,” he said. “I want to hear two sides of the story first, and they haven’t been doing much talking.”
A middle-aged man who only gave his name as Garo said he planned to vote Republican, noting that Lhota has defended the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics. “That’s what I care about,” he said.
Rose Barson, a Bayside resident who works in the health care field, said didn’t vote in the primary, since she still felt lukewarm about the candidates, but that she plans to vote in the general election—and that she now favors de Blasio.
“He seems fair, and I guess he just has a nicer aura about him,” Barson said. “It was nice that he got his family in the campaign. It’s nice to see family as a factor of what his concerns are.”
“As for Lhota, didn’t he leave a job?” Barson added, referring to Lhota’s stint as the chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “The fact that he left a job, that would be considered a minus in my opinion, that he left a position and now he’s running for a position.”
An elderly retired banker named Barbara, who declined to give her last name, said she also likes de Blasio since he is “for the people.”
“We need people like that, we really do,” she said. “I really don’t know too much about Lhota. I really don’t know, but I’m impressed with de Blasio.”