NEW YORK — New York could get its first woman — and lesbian — mayor next year, according to a poll Thursday that showed influential city legislator Christine Quinn well ahead of popular Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Neither has declared their candidacy, but Quinn, a Democrat, has long been expected to try to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, while Kelly is being urged to use his standing as top cop to run on the Republican ticket.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, Quinn has 48 percent support to Kelly’s 33 percent. Bill Thompson, a Democrat who narrowly lost to Bloomberg in 2009, but could compete again, leads Kelly 46-34 percent.
Kelly, a Korea war veteran and tough police commissioner, is widely admired in New York, leading to a media campaign to persuade him to enter electoral politics — even if Kelly has shown no inclination that he wants to run.
However, the top three potential Democratic candidates would all easily beat Kelly as a Republican, the poll found.
“Ray Kelly is a great police commissioner, and he’d be a good mayor, New Yorkers think, but it’s still a Democratic town,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Quinn is “comfortably ahead” of potential Democratic rivals, Carroll said.
As speaker of the city assembly, Quinn, 45, is already a powerful politician and was the first woman to hold that position. She is set to marry her longtime girlfriend Kim Catullo on May 19 under a law passed last year allowing same-sex marriage across New York state.
The mayor election will be held in November 2013. Bloomberg, who will be finishing his third term, cannot run for another.