New York's city council speaker retains a strong lead ahead of next year's election to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- and to become the Big Apple's first lesbian mayor, a poll Wednesday found.


Christine Quinn, 46, has consistently emerged as the frontrunner to replace Bloomberg at the end of his final third term.

The Quinnipiac poll found she would now get 32 percent of the Democratic primary vote, compared to just 10 percent for the next strongest contender, former mayoral candidate William Thompson.

New York is heavily Democratic and the potential Republican candidates would have little chance in a match-up today, the poll found.

Popular Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Joseph Lhota, who has recently been touted as a possible candidate, would get just nine percent, the poll found.

Bloomberg, a billionaire media entrepreneur who switched from Republican to independent, has been mayor since 2002.

Quinn, a close ally in the city council, took advantage of New York State's recent law allowing homosexual marriage by wedding her companion in May. She hasn't yet officially declared her widely expected mayoral bid.

The election takes place November 2013.