Updated at: 10/03/2013 1:35 PM
By JONATHAN LEMIRE and ULA ILNYTZKY
(AP) NEW YORK - Democrat Bill de Blasio has widened his lead to a commanding 50 points over Republican Joe Lhota in the race for New York City mayor, according to a poll released Thursday.
De Blasio, the city’s public advocate, was the choice of 71 percent of likely New York voters, far ahead of the 21 percent who favor Lhota, a deputy under former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the Quinnipiac University poll found. De Blasio’s margin grew from 66 percent to 25 percent in the last Quinnipiac survey, which was released Sept. 19.
De Blasio said after the poll was released that the lead was "gratifying and humbling."
"I don’t take anything for granted even though this is a wonderful poll," he told radio station 1010 WINS. "(Voters) want to find out what we can do to make this city a city of opportunity again. And that’s where I think the support is coming from."
Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion had 2 percent in the poll. Five percent remain undecided and 11 percent of respondents who named a candidate say there’s still a "good chance" they’ll change their mind by the Nov. 5 general election.
De Blasio, who is white and married to a black woman, enjoys a commanding lead with minority voters. Among black voters, he leads 90 percent to 6 percent, and 79 percent to 10 percent among Hispanics. Among whites, his margin is 55 percent to 40 percent.
The poll of 1,198 likely voters was conducted Sept. 25-Oct. 1.The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
The poll indicated that Lhota’s support has room to grow, as 33 percent of those surveyed hadn’t heard enough about him to form an opinion. A Lhota spokeswoman downplayed the results by saying "polls go up and polls go down."
"We remain confident that once New Yorkers learn more, they will choose Joe Lhota, a proven leader with a real plan to move New York forward," said the spokeswoman, Jessica Proud.
Both campaigns have released their first general election television ad. The Lhota campaign ad is clearly aimed at Democrats, highlighting that de Blasio and Lhota both support same-sex marriage, abortion rights and the decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana.
The de Blasio ad, meanwhile, shows uplifting clips from his primary night victory.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)