Mayor hopefuls target blacks, undecided to win over voters

Monday, November 5, 2001

NEW YORK -- With two days to go before the election, Republican Michael Bloomberg tried Sunday to sway undecided voters while Democrat Mark Green worked to maintain his African-American base.

Undecided voters constitute a remarkably high percentage with recent polls suggesting one in five voters were still making up their minds.

Bloomberg spent much of Sunday in neighborhoods where swing Democrats were concentrated -- and where Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has won support in the past. He was also out campaigning with former Democratic Mayor Ed Koch and Republican Gov. George Pataki.

Bloomberg, who had spent $41 million as of Oct. 26, has mailed a flood of materials to voters in recent days -- including a slickly produced videotape extolling his business acumen.

A poll released Sunday and conducted by the Daily News and the New York 1 cable news station, found the race nearly even. The poll found Green with a 43 percent to 39 percent lead -- which falls within the margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Also on Sunday, the Daily News endorsed Bloomberg and Newsday endorsed Green.

This summer, Green led Bloomberg by as many as 40 points, but the city's public advocate has watched his lead evaporate.

At his campaign stops Sunday, Green continued to hit Bloomberg on the billionaire's recent membership in four all-white clubs. Black voters are a key to whether Green can win an election that has become surprisingly close -- African Americans typically vote Democratic in overwhelming numbers, but the ambivalence among some black leaders toward Green could depress their turnout.

Green also continued criticizing Bloomberg's lack of political experience.

"He's never had any accomplishment in public life, and he's running against the No. 2 city official," Green said.

As public advocate, the city's elected government watchdog, Green is next line after Giuliani.

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