GOP Hopeful Calls For 5 Debates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Democrat Bill de Blasio has a commanding lead in the New York City mayoral race, a new poll shows, but Republican Joe Lhota says he’s not panicking.

In a Quinnipiac University poll, de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, leads Lhota, a former deputy mayor and ex-MTA chief, 66 to 25 percent among likely voters.

READ MORE: Heavy Rain Has Queens Residents Worried About Ida Repeat: 'I'm Scared To Death'

De Blasio leads with support from 52 percent of white voters polled, 90 percent of black voters and 68 percent of Hispanics.

“The same kind of a coalition that nominated him, he’s put together here in the general (election),” Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, told WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb. “It’s a tremendous racial gap, if you will.”

Lhota downplayed the numbers.

“These are early polls,” he said. “I expected to be in this position. I’m not worried. I love being in the underdog position. It gives me an opportunity to do all the things that I want to do. I won’t be defending a position. I will be on offense the whole time.”

Quinnipiac also found that 32 percent of voters said they do not know enough about Lhota to make a decision about him.

“Joe Lhota has to get known if he wants a real election,” Carroll told 1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks.

READ MORE: New Jersey Under State Of Emergency As Nor'easter Threatens Flood Prone Areas

The poll of 891 likely voters was conducted Wednesday and has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

Lhota  is challenging de Blasio to hold five debates, one in each borough, instead of just two in Manhattan. The city’s campaign finance board is sponsoring two official debates, both scheduled to be held in Manhattan in late October.

“We have two very, very different philosophies,” Lhota said. “It’s going to be very interesting for the public to see the contrasting point of views.”

The de Blasio campaign did not immediately respond to Lhota’s request.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

You May Also Be Interested In These Stories

[display-posts category=”news” posts_per_page=”4″]

MORE NEWS: Storm Watch: Timeline Of Rare October Nor'easter Soaking Tri-State Area

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)