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November 2nd, 2009
01:46 PM ET

Despite Bloomberg's lead, New Yorkers have misgivings

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/14/new.york.school.closures.flu/art.bloomberg.afp.gi.jpg caption="Michael Bloomberg has set a record by spending more personal funds than anyone in U.S. history on bids for public office."]

Robin Shulman
Washington Post Staff Writer

As Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg campaigns for reelection, some of his steadiest supporters include people like Freddy Batista: a man with mixed feelings.

"I don't like Bloomberg, but I think the city needs him," said Batista, 30, a heavyset sales clerk wearing a Yankees cap. He explained that he finds the mayor cranky and distant, but that he trusts him to fix the ailing economy.

Recent polls have found Bloomberg, a billionaire businessman and political independent, leading by double digits over his Democratic rival, the little-known and underfunded William C. Thompson, the city's comptroller.

Yet New Yorkers both for and against the mayor describe conflicting emotions about his record spending on his campaign - likely more than $100 million by Tuesday, which is Election Day - and the way he pushed through legal changes to allow him to run for a third term.

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