Joe ‘Who?’ Lhota Has a Long Way to Go

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Do you recognize this man?
Do you recognize this man?

Former MTA chief Joe Lhota has not been shy about his mayoral ambitions since quitting his job, all but making it official this week, but regular New Yorkers have yet to pay attention. According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Lhota may be the favorite among potential Republican candidates, scraping together 23 percent of the vote (more than the rest of the scrubs combined), but "undecided" towers over him with 53 percent. Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said they haven't heard enough about Lhota to rate him one way or the other, while 19 percent have a favorable opinion and 11 percent don't dig him.

Lhota is expected to run at least in part on his MTA successes ("Imagine what I can do in the future with a much more complex organization"), such as getting things running again after Hurricane Sandy, but just 36 percent of people polled approve of his work at the agency, with 46 percent disapproving. That could be because prices went up. It's also just about the same as before the storm.

As a candidate, Lhota's other notable qualification is his work in the Rudy Giuliani administration as a deputy mayor and budget director. Giuliani has already made his support explicit, but even that has questionable returns: Quinnipiac reports that 48 percent of people feel favorably about the former mayor and 43 percent don't.

"Who are those guys?" asked poll director Maurice Carroll, rhetorically. "Almost no one knows the Republicans who say they want to be mayor." While it's favored Democrat Christine Quinn who's really sitting pretty, even Bill de Blasio, whose own "don't know this guy" meter sits at 52 percent, destroys Lhota in a head-to-head matchup, 57–17.