Take it from Nate. If there’s one pundit that has a record of predicting election outcomes accurately, it is Nate Silver of the NY Times Five Thirty Eight Blog. In the 2012 presidential elections, Silver was the only pundit who confidently predicted the election outcome, based on his analysis of public opinion polls.
In this year’s mayoral election, while it may be seen as a wide open race, Nate Silver already presumes City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn will very likely win the Democratic nomination in September, or in an October runoff. The early Democratic front-runner in recent New York City mayoral races has a near perfect record in going on to win the party’s nomination, according to an analysis of public opinion surveys conducted since 1989.
In five of the past six Democratic primaries for mayor, the candidate who led in an average of polls conducted in the first six months of the election year advanced to the general election, Silver writes. The only exception was in 2009, when Anthony Weiner led Bill Thompson Jr. by five percentage points but decided to quit the race.
In this year’s mayoral race, Ms. Quinn has a lead of 17 percentage points in an average of the seven primary polls conducted so far. Although her level of support has fallen 39% percent in January, to 24% in the most recent Marist poll, she has managed to maintain a lead over her opponents, including Mr. Weiner.
Based on historical precedent and poll analysis, Nate Silver predicts: “Ms. Quinn is likely to win the Democratic nomination, even if she has to face a runoff election first.”
Silver has one glimpse of hope for the top four candidates polling in double digits. “While the early front-runner virtually always secures the nomination, underdogs have leapfrogged over other candidates to finish in the top tier (although never to win). In 2005, Mr. Weiner was barely in double digits in the first 15 polls of the year, but secured 29 percent of the primary vote, finishing in second place. In 1997, early surveys showed the Rev. Al Sharpton with just 9 percent of the vote, but he, too, went on to finish second in the primary, winning 32 percent of the vote.”