NEW YORK — Former presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, who advocated for a “universal basic income” during the Democratic primary, is now the subject of a poll that tests New York City voters’ appetites for a third-party candidate in the upcoming mayoral race.
Yang was also among 11 people listed in a question assessing responders’ top picks in the Democratic primary to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio next June, according to an online survey targeting Manhattan residents through a Facebook ad and shared with POLITICO by someone who took it.
The poll did not indicate it was being conducted on Yang’s behalf, the person said, but several questions focused on his potential candidacy — something his team said he was weighing as recently as last month. Others asked respondents to gauge a nameless candidate, whose description closely matched Yang’s profile.
The poll specifically tested one’s viability as an independent candidate, which would allow Yang to skip the crowded primary and spend more time raising funds for a general election next November. Registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans and unaffiliated voters in the city, and New Yorkers rarely select mayors off the Democratic line. Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani both won as Republicans during times of significant crisis, and in Bloomberg’s case only after significantly outspending his opponents.
In the recent online poll, respondents were asked whether they would support their top pick from the Democratic primary as an independent or third-party candidate, should that person lose in June to one of the more than 10 people in the race.
The person who provided the information to POLITICO asked not to be named, but said he understood the poll to be “exploring Yang’s viability both in the Democratic primary and as an independent candidate, but that they are very seriously considering an independent candidacy.” The respondent is a Democrat who already supports someone else.
In another clue the survey was testing a Yang mayoral bid, it asked respondents about specific policies he’s championed, such as providing people a monthly cash payment of $1,000 — a central theme of the private-sector entrepreneur’s unorthodox presidential bid.
It also described him in an outline of an unnamed candidate — a political outsider, entrepreneur, nonprofit leader and, more specifically, the 2012 recipient of Obama’s “Champion of Change” award, which Yang received that year.
Yang and his former campaign manager did not respond to questions or several requests for comment.
The poll was conducted via the online service Survey Monkey and targeted as a social media ad, seemingly through the company Montana Research, the respondent said.