Bloomberg squeaks past Thompson

November 4, 2009 4:04:00 PM PST
Mayor Bloomberg early this morning seemed almost cocky about his victory. "I don't' think the margin of victory was narrow. When the Yankees win, whether it's in four, five, six or seven, it's number 27. That's all that matters," Bloomberg said.

The mayor said it wasn't how he changed the term limit law, nor spent at least 85-million getting re-elected.

He blamed a bad economy and a voting public angry with all incumbents.

"Did it cost a lot? Yes it did. Take a look at New Jersey. Jon Corzine spent $40 million and didn't win," he said.

Bill Thompson was nowhere to be seen today. Democrats are asking what if? What if the president, or perhaps the party, had helped more?

"I think it's fair to say some people are soul-searching today and some other folks who didn't get involved. You know this is a real indictment of the culture of polling," Public Advocate-elect Bill De Blasio said.

Polls projected Bloomberg would win by at least 12 points, but it was only five.

Pollsters today tried to defend their work.

"So we're always saying, don't look at the margin separating the candidates. Look at the number the incumbents are getting. Bloomberg was in the low 50s and he got in the low 50s," Lee Miringoff of the Marist Poll said.

Bloomberg must now govern in a city divided in a troubled economy.

"What has Bloomberg done for the average working man, honestly?" John Villano, a Thompson voter, asked.

Even Bloomberg's biggest backers see trouble ahead.

"This is going to be his toughest four years. His toughest four years. There are a lot of angry people out there," supporter Anthony Santa Maria said.

Thompson beat the mayor handily in predominantly black neighborhoods such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and Jamaica in Queens. He won Harlem and East Harlem easily, along with other heavily Hispanic districts in upper Manhattan and the Bronx.

By contrast, Bloomberg won easily on Staten Island, which has a much larger white population. He also fared better in Manhattan, particularly on the Upper East Side, where he lives.

Turnout was slightly lower than both campaigns had predicted - about 1.1 million New Yorkers cast votes out of nearly 4.5 million people registered.

Bloomberg's margin of victory was far smaller than the nearly 20-point blowout he pulled off in 2005, and only slightly larger than the three-point win he managed in 2001 as a politically untested businessman.

Bloomberg was a Republican but left the party in 2007 to explore a presidential bid, which he eventually abandoned. For his third mayoral campaign, he ran again on the GOP and Independence Party lines.

While Bloomberg had a huge financial advantage and consistently high approval ratings, his campaign still faced obstacles.

The mayor, who has close ties to Wall Street and development, was running for re-election at a time when finance and real estate were falling apart and those relationships were not necessarily seen as positives.

New York City also leans heavily to the left, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a ratio of 5-to-1.

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