Poll finds city’s top cop is top mayor pick in ‘09

By Jeremy Walsh

The poll found 22 percent of the 1,427 voters queried favored Kelly. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) followed with 14 percent, tying with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. Next came City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan) with 13 percent, followed by Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and City Comptroller William Thompson, tied at 8 percent.Kelly's approval rating was also the highest of any of the city officials on the slate at 62 percent. He was very popular among white voters, 75 percent of whom approved of his work. But opinions of Kelly's job performance were evenly split among black voters, with 44 percent in support and 44 percent disapproving.”Probably it's due to all the news about the Bell trial,” said Maurice Carroll, director of Quinnipiac University's polling institute, referring to the trial of three undercover police officers who fired 50 shots at car during a confrontation outside a Jamaica strip club in November 2006, killing 23-year-old Sean Bell and wounding two others. The shooting outraged many leaders in the black community.The commissioner has strong ties to Queens. Born in 1941, he graduated from Archbishop Molloy in 1959, earned a degree from Manhattan College and returned to Queens to attend law school at St. John's University. Kelly is heavily favored among Republicans, whose party Kelly would likely join for a mayoral run.Among city Democratic officials, Quinn's approval rating was 48 percent. Gotbaum's rating was 45 percent and Thompson's was 44 percent.Pollsters asked the voters to pick one of the six potential candidates included on the list. Mayoral hopefuls omitted from the poll include City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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