Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee, on the R train in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, on Monday. He says a big margin of victory could help him as he tries to get his policy initiatives put into effect. | Damon Winter/The New York Times
Concerned that his overwhelming lead in the race to be New York mayor could depress voter turnout, Bill de Blasio on Monday warned supporters against complacency as he sought to win with a decisive mandate that could propel his liberal agenda.
“By definition, in the political process, the more support you get in an election, the more ability you have to achieve your goals,” Mr. de Blasio, the Democratic nominee, told reporters after a visit to a senior center in the Bronx. “If we get a strong result, it will help us get our work done.”
But Mr. de Blasio’s Republican rival, Joseph J. Lhota, was not giving up the fight, urging New Yorkers to remember faulty predictions of the past, and comparing himself to Harry S. Truman on the eve of his unexpected victory against Thomas E. Dewey in 1948. “You’re going to be pleasantly surprised,” he said in an interview on WOR-AM (710).
Despite a highly publicized campaign, and predictions of a temperate, partly sunny day, experts are expecting only a modest turnout Tuesday, given Mr. de Blasio’s lopsided lead in the polls.
Jerry Skurnik, a Democratic political consultant, predicted that turnout would be around 1.2 million — about what it was in 2009, when Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was widely expected to win a third term. Another Democratic consultant, Bruce D. Gyory, predicted turnout between 1.1 and 1.25 million. There are 4.3 million active registered voters in New York City.
Mr. de Blasio, who leads by more than 40 points in some polls, is hoping to ride the wave of populist momentum that has sustained him since September, when he emerged from a crowded field to win the Democratic nomination for mayor. An overwhelming victory might help him win support for his long list of policy ideas, including his signature proposal — a plan to raise taxes on wealthy residents to pay for an expansion of prekindergarten and after-school programs.
“We need Bill de Blasio to have a mandate,” Rubén Díaz Jr., the Bronx borough president, said during Mr. de Blasio’s appearance in the Bronx. “We need to make sure his numbers are so high that no one can ever question his message.”