Campaigns & Elections

Political insiders see Adams, Yang, Stringer at the top

City & State readers say “anybody but Yang.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams lev radin/Shutterstock

Political insiders think it’s a three-person race to be the next mayor of New York City, with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams considered the most likely to win. And even though Andrew Yang has topped all the public polls released so far, he’s polling dead last among our readers, according to an unscientific City & State/Honan Strategy Group survey. Asked to put their own preference aside and predict who they think would be most likely to win the Democratic primary, 29% of respondents said Adams, 23% said former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and 22% said New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Then there was a big drop, with all the other leading mayoral candidates in the single digits. Just 6% of respondents thought former Citigroup vice chair Ray McGuire would win the primary, 5% chose former counsel to the mayor Maya Wiley, 3% said former White House Budget Director Shaun Donovan and 2% picked former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. No respondents thought either former nonprofit executive Dianne Morales or City Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who dropped out of the race while the poll was being conducted, would win the primary. And 11% of respondents said they didn’t know.

Honan Strategy Group conducted the online survey of 367 New York political and policy junkies drawn from City & State’s email list from March 23-28. It’s a casual survey that isn’t meant to predict the outcome of the election, but could serve as a temperature check on the race among City & State’s readership, which is highly engaged with politics. Unlike the city at large, recipients of City & State newsletters like Campaign Confidential and First Read are presumed to be paying close attention to the race.

City & State and Honan Strategy Group previously polled readers about the mayoral race in November, and while no serious conclusions should be drawn from comparing the two unscientific online polls, the differences do seem to reflect how the race has changed in the past 4 1/2 months. Stringer started strong, and was the first major candidate to formally launch his campaign. He led the November poll with 30% of readers thinking Stringer was most likely to win. That has dropped to 22%, but respondents still think he’s a top-tier contender. Same with Eric Adams, who 17% of readers in November thought would win, which was good enough for second place. Now that his steady campaign has picked up support from major labor unions, he’s in first. And even though Yang wasn’t in the race yet, and wasn’t an option in the November poll, our readers may have predicted his rise. Some 19% of respondents said then that an unnamed “another candidate” would end up winning the primary.

But even if political enthusiasts like Yang’s chances, that doesn’t mean they want him to win. Among the readers surveyed who said they were registered Democrats in New York City, Stringer led the field with 18% saying they planned to vote for him. McGuire had 11%, and Morales, Garcia, Wiley and Adams were all tied with 10% of the vote. Seven percent of respondents said they planned to vote for Donovan, and just 6% said Yang. Menchaca, who has since dropped out, and “another candidate” both got 0%, and 12% said they didn’t know. No candidate truly stood out, suggesting that, even among political insiders, the race is still wide open. Stringer, who has the most years of experience in New York politics, finishing first and Yang, who has the least experience, finishing last, could suggest that City & State readers, who are highly likely to work in politics and government, value direct experience. But the second-place finish of McGuire, who also has little to no direct experience in city politics, would seem to complicate that narrative or suggest that our readers have more connections to Wall Street than the average survey audience.

See more results and read the full memo below:

City & State + Honan Strategy Group Mayoral Overview March 29 2021 by City & State NY on Scribd