Most New Yorkers ranked candidates in June 22 mayoral primary: poll

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It’s not over yet!

More than 80 percent of Big Apple voters picked at least two candidates in the June 22 mayoral primary, providing new evidence there could be major shifts in the race once the ranked-choice rounds are calculated, a new exit poll revealed Monday.

The survey of nearly 1,700 New Yorkers as they left the polls reveals that 42 percent of New Yorkers used all five choices on their ballot to cast their vote in the contest for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Together, the findings show that a substantial number of ballots will likely be reallocated from their first round picks under the city’s new instant-runoff system when the ranked-choice placements are calculated for the first time Tuesday.

Currently, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leads the unofficial round-one tally with 32 percent of the vote — while Maya Wiley, a former top aide to Mayor Bill de Blasio, netted 22 percent and former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia got 19 percent.

That count is incomplete as it does not include any of the 207,000 absentee ballots requested by Democrats in the election — nearly 124,000 have been returned to the Board of Elections so far, roughly 13 percent of the ballots cast in the race. Nor will those mail ballots be included in the initial ranked-choice voting calculations Tuesday.

Under state law the BOE can only begin opening those envelopes today (June 28) and the final cutoff for receiving absentee ballots postmarked by Primary Day is Tuesday (June 29).

The BOE says it expects to have the bulk of the absentees counted by July 6, which is when it expects to once again rerun the ranked-choice voting tabulations to incorporate those results. The final tallies are expected by July 12.

However, experts say it will be difficult for Wiley and Garcia to overcome Adams’s sizable first round lead.

The survey was commissioned by Common Cause and other good government groups that backed the creation of ranked-choice voting in the 2019 charter election.

Pollsters surveyed 1,662 voters to cast ballots during early voting and on Primary Day to reach the conclusions. There was no margin of error because it surveyed those who already voted.

It reveals that white voters were the most likely to take full advantage of ranked-choice balloting, with 45 percent using all five spots; black voters were the second-most likely at 43 percent.

However, pollsters also reported that 25 percent of black voters cast ballots with just one mayoral candidate, which is more than double the 10 percent of ballots cast by whites with just one vote.

Of the 17 percent of voters who picked just one candidate — 65 percent told pollsters they only had one preferred candidate in the race, while just 28 percent said they were unfamiliar with rank-choice voting.

“The results were overwhelmingly positivity,” said Susan Lerner, the head of Common Cause-NY. “Overall, 83 percent of voters ranked at least two candidates in the mayoral primary, contrary to fears that ranked-choice voting would harm voters.”

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