Bill de Blasio has made no secret of his gubernatorial ambitions. It seems likely that the fun-loving mayor of New York City will jump into the 2022 Democratic primary, which is set to include incumbent New York governor Kathy Hochul and probably a few other formidable candidates; state attorney general Letitia James, New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams, and comeback-thirsty Andrew Cuomo are among the possibilities.
There is a tiny problem with de Blasio’s plan, though: He is very unpopular. Very, very unpopular.
A Siena poll released on Tuesday that showed Hochul with a commanding lead in a few different primary scenarios also included this nugget:
Former President Donald Trump has long been the pol with the lowest favorability rating among New York voters. No more. Trump has a 37-59 percent favorability rating, net 22 points negative. Cuomo is 33-60 percent, net 27 points negative. And de Blasio is 25-56 percent, net 31 points negative.
So de Blasio, who is not mired in any particular scandal, is less liked by voters than the guy who quit the governorship a few months ago after multiple credible allegations of sexual harassment — as well as the guy who lost New York in the 2020 election by 23 points (with the caveat that this is one poll. Though the chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committe’s declaring that “Osama bin Laden is probably more popular in Suffolk County than Bill de Blasio” is not a good sign either).
This is actually not the first time Siena has shown Trump outperforming de Blasio in the likability sweepstakes; a 2019 poll, which came out in the midst of the mayor’s quixotic presidential bid, produced a similar result to Tuesday’s. De Blasio soldiered on with that campaign for several months despite finding almost zero support from Iowa (or New York) voters, so it’s not like another bad survey will dissuade him from his dreams this time around.
“I have a long, rich history of being an underdog,” he said on Tuesday “I have seen polls like that literally every time I have run for office.”
It’s true that in 2013, de Blasio appeared to come out of nowhere to snatch the Democratic primary, after trailing in early polls. But back then, he was a (relatively) fresh face who benefited hugely from the scandal that engulfed onetime front-runner Anthony Weiner.
After eight years in office and with an established reputation, it’s not clear he would prevail in his presumed gubernatorial run even if every one of his rivals — and not just his archnemesis, Cuomo — were severely politically weakened. But he’s soldiering on in the face of great odds anyway. And maybe he deserves some respect for that.