Ray Kelly leads another early poll about a race that is too early to poll

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Ray Kelly. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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So, a few things about the Quinnipiac poll this morning showing New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly leading the field of likely 2013 mayoral candidates.

Yes, it was conducted from October 12 to 16, during a series of unflattering stories about police tactics, the handling of Occupy Wall Street protesters, the arrest of a City Councilman, and, possible involvement in the shooting death a Brooklyn woman near the West Indian Day parade.

And yes, Kelly's steadfast popularity is a testament to his agency's largely laudable work and his swift action in reviewing questionable behavior by his officers. He also hosts regular community meetings and, in person, will subject himself to nearly every question every reporter wants to ask.

But polling this early is largely measuring name recognition, and little else. Even recent developments that may dramatically alter the race may not register in a poll like this.

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For example: Quinnipiac's polling started one day after the New York Times ran a front-page story questioning how CIty Comptroller John Liu raised so much campaign money, considering some donors could not be found or said they did not give give him money. Liu has said his campaign books are "in order" and said he will conduct an internal review to figure out what, if anything, went wrong.

But Liu's standing in the 2013 contest, according to this poll, was largely unchanged. In fact, Liu polled at exactly the same number in Quinnipiac's July 27 poll as he did in the Quinnipiac's poll today: 10 percent.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer—who got "a boost" thanks to the endorsement of actress Scarlett Johansson—went up only 1 point from July to October, leaving him still in the single digits. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who, according to the New York Post, said he's not running for mayor, is up 2 points from the last poll. (Markowitz, for his part, said the story abou this future plans was inaccurate.) 

The questions about replacing Bloomberg are taking place so far ahead of when most people are actually thinking about replacing Bloomberg that it's hardly measuring the strength of potential candidates who will actually try replacing Bloomberg.

Voters aren't paying all that much attention to the question. And the full-contact discussion of a campaign (i.e., paid ads and regular media coverage), which can greatly affect a candidate's poll numbers, hasn't started.