Polls have officially closed but the New York mayoral race is just heating up as election officials tabulate the results.
WNBC reports that exit polling shows Bill de Blasio commanding a large lead over his fellow democratic primary opponents -- Comptroller Bill Thompson and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. But it still appears that he de Blasio isn't fully in the clear from having to participate in a runoff election with one of his opponents.
If he is able to win 40 percent of votes, a runoff won't be necessary. But if he falls short of that number, it is difficult to predict if he will face Thompson or Quinn -- exit poll numbers for the two are extremely close.
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De Blasio received equal support from whites and blacks, taking a 10 point lead over Bill Thompson among blacks. But Hispanic voters were more divided. Not enough Asian voters were included in the exit poll to use their views separately, the Times said.
The Edison Research/Marist exit poll also uncovered that most Democrats are looking for a candidate greatly different from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with 73 percent saying they wanted a candidate that would take the city in a new direction. Only 22 percent said they wanted a candidate that would continue Bloomberg's policies.
The survey included more than 1,700 voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
When it came to highlighting the issues that influenced them most when deciding who to choose for mayor, 30 percent said jobs and unemployment, 20 percent said education, 16 percent said crime, 12 percent said the city’s finances and 11 percent said housing.
The republican candidates for the role are MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota and John Catsimatidis.