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NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is falling in public opinion polls as he seeks a third term, but he still seems a good bet for re-election, according to a Marist Poll released on Friday.
Fifty-two percent of those surveyed say Bloomberg is doing either an excellent or good job in office, down seven percentage points from the November survey, itself a nine percentage point drop from 68 percent in October.
Bloomberg's decline coincides with the financial crisis and Bloomberg's successful bid to alter the election laws so he could seek a third term. He secured a city council vote in October that overturned two public referendums on term limits.
Bloomberg once considered running for president as an independent in 2008. After he ruled that out, the self-made billionaire began seeking a third term.
The poll showed 46 percent opposed the extension of term limits versus 25 percent who were in favor.
The longtime Democrat switched to the Republican Party to run for mayor in 2001, then dropped all party affiliation after he was re-elected as a Republican in 2005. Party primary elections are set for Sept. 8 and the general election for Nov. 3.
The Marist Poll said 55 percent of registered voters believe it is time for someone else to be mayor and 40 percent say Bloomberg deserves another chance. Marist said a 2005 poll showed similar poll numbers a few months before he was re-elected.
His prospective challengers lag the mayor.
Bloomberg leads a hypothetical matchup against Congressman Anthony Weiner by 53 percent to 37 percent and the margins are even wider for City Comptroller Bill Thompson (53 percent to 36 percent) and City Councilman Tony Avella (57-30).
Bloomberg cited the financial crisis as rationale for seeking a third term, saying his experience as a Wall Street bond trader and founder of the news and information company that bears his name made him uniquely qualified. Bloomberg LP is a direct competitor to Thomson Reuters (TRI.N)TRI.L(TRI.TO).
The voters are split on his handling of the crisis: 46 percent disapprove of Bloomberg's approach while 43 percent approve, Marist said.
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion based in Poughkeepsie, New York, said it surveyed 827 New York City registered voters on February 16 and February 17 by telephone. The margin of error was listed at plus or minus 4.5 percent. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by David Storey)