Posted by Ashley Houghton on June 21, 2021 at 12:39 PM

For Immediate Release

Press Contact:
Ashley Houghton, Communications Director
[email protected]

Eric Adams Holds Sizeable Lead in Latest Ranked Choice Voting Poll

New Ranked Choice Voting Poll Shows 90%+ New Yorkers Plan to Rank 2+ Candidates in Upcoming Mayoral Primary, 75% Find Ranked Choice Voting “Easy” or “Very Easy”

Monday, June 21 –FairVote, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for better elections, shared the results today of a new survey conducted by Citizen Data and FairVote. Citizen Data, in partnership with FairVote, polled 800 New York City likely Democratic primary voters regarding their preferences in the mayoral primary on June 22; the survey was in the field from June 14th to the 17th.

The findings, which are also available on FairVote’s website and as a report, indicate the following top-line trends:

  • Eric Adams maintains a commanding lead: Eric Adams has a strong lead in first choices, with 32% support, and maintains a strong lead throughout the ranked choice voting tally. In the simulated “instant runoff,” he leads Maya Wiley by 56% to 44%; he also leads against every other candidate by at least 9 percentage points. He is the only candidate ranked by more than half of respondents in their top three rankings.
  • Voters embrace ranking candidates: By every measure, New Yorkers are embracing ranked choice voting. More than half of respondents (59%) use all five rankings in the mayoral race, and 90% indicate at least one backup preference. A supermajority of respondents (75%) found ranked choice voting either “easy” or “very easy”. Nearly four times more voters indicate that their new power to rank candidates is more likely to bring them to the polls than those who say they are less likely to vote -- with the biggest positive impact on Latinx voters.
  • FairVote’s simulation model confirms Wiley, Adams and Garcia as frontrunners. FairVote's RCV simulation model estimates likelihood for various scenarios other than the one in which Adams and Wiley advance to the final round. In a simulation of 10,000 RCV elections based on weighted poll responses, Adams and Wiley are the most likely final-round pairing, advancing to the final round 59% of the time. However, an Adams-Garcia final-round pairing is also possible, occurring in 41% of FairVote’s simulations.

Since respondents have been surveyed, the most significant shift in the mayoral race was the news that Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang held joint campaign events on the weekend; in turn, Eric Adams and his allies then attacked them for doing so. This dynamic has the potential to impact the outcome in two ways. When Yang is eliminated from FairVote’s simulated count, Adams wins a plurality of next choice support over Garcia and Wiley. A bigger shift to Garcia would vault her into second for the final instant runoff, where she would need to overcome a 9% advantage for Adams. The fact that Adams consistently attracts significant support from backers of other major candidates is key to winning this simulated ranked choice voting tally. 

“Ranked choice polls reinforce what we already know: ranked choice voting is easy. It’s a straightforward, common-sense solution that voters want and helps make our elections  better,” commented  Rob Richie, CEO and President of FairVote. “There’s a reason why it’s been embraced by small towns in Utah and cities like New York alike, from Alaska to Maine and everywhere in between.”

"New York City is a national leader in ranked choice voting, and it's critical to study how voters there will respond to the change,” added Mindy Finn, CEO of Citizen Data. “Overwhelming majorities find ranked choice voting easy and report being more likely to vote as a result — a promising sign for the newly-implemented reform. Our research methodology allows voters to rank candidates while measuring the impact of ranked choice voting, paving the way for the future of political polling as the reform is adopted across the country."


FairVote is a nonpartisan organization seeking better elections for all. We research and advance voting reforms that make democracy more functional and representative for every American.


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