Back behind Quinn with everyone else, Bill Thompson has room to surge

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Thompson with a voter in 2009. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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At first glance, today's Quinnipiac poll makes the 2013 mayoral campaign look like a two-tier race, with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in front and everyone else bunched up behind her.

Her nearest rival is former city comptroller Bill Thompson, who has 13 percent, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 10 percent.

With the important disclaimer that it's silly to try to draw definitive conclusions from polling this far out, one thing that jumps out is that Thompson, the Democratic nominee in the last mayoral election, seems to have lots of room to improve among African-American Democrats, whose preferences in the poll break down like this:

24-Thompson

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19-Quinn

10-Liu

6-de Blasio

6-Allon

2-Stringer

30-undecided

It's hard to imagine Thompson, who is African-American, not getting the lion's share of that vote once the race gets underway in earnest.

A Marist poll of the prospective Democratic field taken in May 2009 gave Thompson 41 percent among African-American respondents, versus 24 for Anthony Weiner and 2 for Tony Avella, with 32 percent undecided, at a time when Weiner was leading overall. Shortly before the general, a Quinnipiac poll showed Thompson leading Bloomberg among African-American voters 62-23.

If Thompson attracts a comparable level of black support it would set him up as the leading alternative to Quinn, the de facto establishment candidate, possibly setting the stage for Quinn-Thompson runoff if neither candidate gets at least 40 percent of the vote in the primary.