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No frontrunner in race for New York mayor

Democratic candidate for  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (left), singer Harry Belafonte and actress Susan Sarandon
Democratic candidate for Mayor and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (left) with singer Harry Belafonte and actress Susan Sarandon on August 19, 2013 in New York City. Voters appear undecided over who should succeed Michael Bloomberg.

Two weeks before primary elections in the race for New York City mayor, voters appear undecided over who should succeed Michael Bloomberg.

On September 10, voters must choose the Democratic and Republican candidates -- with the winner from each party to battle it out on November 5.

But polls show that after Bloomberg's 12-year tenure, New Yorkers are having trouble deciding who should come next.

Traditionally, New York is dominated by Democrats -- though the city has not elected a mayor from that party in 20 years -- and the winner of the Democratic primary is likely to have a good chance of winning in November.

Up until mid-July, the mostly likely candidate appeared to be city council head Christine Quinn, who was leading in polls with 30 percent of the projected vote.

But since then her lead appears to have evaporated.

The first surge came from former US congressman Anthony Weiner, though his campaign has since foundered over revelations he sent sexual messages and photos to young women over the Internet even after resigning from Congress in 2011 over a similar scandal.

Since then, another Democrat, Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, emerged as a frontrunner, according to a NBC4/WSJ/Marist poll, which showed him neck-and-neck with Quinn with 24 percent of the projected vote.

Next came Bill Thompson, the sole African-American candidate, with 16 percent, followed by Weiner, with 12 percent.

Last week, another Quinnipiac poll put de Blasio squarely in the lead for the first time, with 30 percent, ahead of Quinn with 24 percent and Thompson with 22 percent, with Weiner trailing in fourth with 10 percent.

However, none of the Democratic candidates seem likely to obtain the 40 percent of the vote required to avoid a second round primary set for October 1.

For Quinn, a 47-year-old gay woman who presents herself as the "natural" successor to Bloomberg, the polls are worrying, and in recent days she has intensified her attacks against de Blasio.

Until mid-July, the mostly likely candidate to succeed Mayor Bloomberg appeared to be city council head Christine Quinn
New York City Council member Christine Quinn votes on whether to bring a motion to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's vetoes to establish an inspector general for the New York Police Department, August 22, 2013 in New York City.

The July 23 revelations of Weiner's online sexual exploits marked a turning point in the campaign, most notably to the benefit of de Blasio, the furthest left of the candidates.

De Blasio, a 52-year-old Italian-American, seems to have higher approval ratings among Democrats -- 59 percent compared to 54 percent for Quinn.

On the Republican side, the battle appears to be between businessman John Catsimatidis and former Metropolitan Transit Authority president Joseph Lhota.

The latest poll from Quinnipiac gives the advantage to Lhota, 43 percent to 37 percent among prospective Republican voters.

A handful of candidates are running as independents -- including Adolfo Carrion Jr, who is polling at around 10 percent of prospective voters.

One of the key factors in the election will be turnout -- always difficult in New York. In 2009, barely 29 percent of voters cast ballots.

The next mayor will take office on January 1, 2014.

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