NEW YORK -- He was considered a long shot just a few days ago, but a poll shows Republican Michael Bloomberg has pulled into a statistical dead heat with Democrat Mark Green in the mayor's race.
A poll released Friday by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion showed 46 percent of likely voters favored Green, the city's public advocate, while 42 percent supported Bloomberg, founder of the Bloomberg financial news service. Twelve percent were undecided.
The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points, meaning the poll shows the race to be a statistical dead heat.
Bloomberg, a political outsider, had been given little chance of victory in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans 5-to-1. A poll released Oct. 24 by Quinnipiac University showed Green with a 51 percent to 35 percent lead among likely voters.
Analysts attribute Bloomberg's rise in the polls to two things: He has spent more than $41 million on the race, much of it on television ads, and last week he won the endorsement of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who has been lauded for his leadership since the World Trade Center attack.
"What this shows is that if you spend enough money, you can have an impact on the polls," said Steven Cohen, a Columbia University political science professor.
Bloomberg's boost came after an airwave ad blitz featuring Giuliani enthusiastically endorsing him as the man to rebuild the city torn by disaster.
Cohen said the commercial "makes very good television, and no one counted on Bloomberg putting it on the air a gazillion times."
In the ad, Giuliani says Bloomberg "has the financial and economic expertise New York needs. He understands business. He understands jobs. He has the right plans to rebuild."
"Green has been hemorrhaging white votes, especially white Catholics lately, and that's because of Rudy," said Doug Muzzio, a Baruch College political science professor.
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