(CNN)New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is running for Democratic nomination for president. You’re going to hear a lot of doubting takes from the press on de Blasio. And maybe, just maybe, de Blasio will prove all of us wrong. (He has before.)
But unlike my skepticism of the press’s position on South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, I think there are a lot of reasons to think the press is right here. De Blasio is most likely on a road to nowhere. The fact is that de Blasio’s polling is just flat out bad everywhere. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces 2020 presidential runStart off with de Blasio’s hometown Democrats in New York City. Yes, more Democrats approve (53%) of his job as mayor than disapprove (34%) in a recent Quinnipiac University poll. Remember, though, that we’re talking about Democrats in a liberal city here. The fact that 34% disapprove of him is a major warning sign.Indeed, they don’t think much of his presidential ambitions. Just 21% of New York City Democrats wanted him to run for president. The vast majority, 73%, did not. If the Democrats who know him best are this unsupportive of his bid, it doesn’t speak well to de Blasio’s potential appeal when voters in other places don’t know him. Read MoreDe Blasio’s numbers are no better statewide. He actually runs a negative net favorability rating (favorable – unfavorable) of -2 points among New York State Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll taken earlier this year. When it comes to his presidential run, statewide Democrats are giving him a big no. An astounding 65% said they would be unhappy compared with 25% who said they’d be happy if he were the Democratic nominee in 2020. The Marist College poll that found this also showed that every single other Democrat tested polled better on this question. Of course, the Democratic primary isn’t likely to be decided in New York. If de Blasio were popular either nationally or in the early states, he might be onto something. He doesn’t seem to be.De Blasio is the only Democratic candidate with a negative net favorability rating (-6 points) that Monmouth University polled about over the last few months. Most Democrats with de Blasio’s name recognition (about 40%) or better have scores of +20 points or above. Nor is it the case that the voters who like him really like him. If he’s lucky in a poll, he’s about the first choice of 1% of Democrats nationally. The early states of Iowa and New Hampshire look no better. On average, he’s the first choice of 0% of Democrats. His net favorability in both states is negative with Democratic primary voters (-4 points in Iowa and -10 points in New Hampshire). In both states, over 45% of voters can form an opinion of de Blasio. That’s not huge, but it’s enough to say that a number of people know who he is and don’t currently like him. Obviously, things can change for the mayor. The question is, why would they? De Blasio fans could point to Buttigieg’s rise. De Blasio is, after all, the mayor of a much bigger city. Further, de Blasio has a history of winning over black voters, while Buttigieg has struggled among them.Keep in mind, though, that Buttigieg still has only managed to hit single digits and is a long way behind the leader, former Vice President Joe Biden, at this point. De Blasio is the 23rd Democrat to declare. This is a field with mayors, governors, senators, etc. Candidates who are polling at de Blasio’s level have a very poor track record of winning nominations. De Blasio’s backers will no doubt say that people have been skeptical of de Blasio before, and he proved those detractors wrong. Very few people (including a younger me) thought he had what it would take to win the 2013 New York City mayoral Democratic primary. The math this time is considerably different than it was then. De Blasio had an over +30 net favorability with New York Democrats in January 2013 and was hitting double digits in primary polls. He only had to beat 4 other serious contenders for that nomination. It’s all a far cry from the negative net favorability ratings, 0%-1% first choice support and more than 20 competitors he has now. Finally, I’m just not sure this is the moment for a progressive mayor of New York. In 2013, de Blasio took advantage of two major competitors (Christine Quinn and Bill Thompson) who were seen as too moderate by some. This year, almost all of de Blasio’s major competitors are running to the left in a year in which Democrats, for the moment, seem content to nominate a relative moderate in Biden. No matter what way you look at it, de Blasio has a long row to hoe.