Mr. Adams has also cast himself as a business-friendly candidate who sees no need to demonize real estate. “I am real estate,” Mr. Adams, who owns a multifamily property in Brooklyn, has said. Mr. Adams also previously led an organization that advocated criminal justice reforms within the New York Police Department.
“It seems like he’s happy to tinker around the edges and continue to play the inside game with the N.Y.P.D., and I just don’t think that that has been effective,” said Charles Khan, the organizing director for the Strong Economy for All Coalition.
Mr. Adams’s team argues that substantively, on issues from housing to taxes, he has many of the same goals as the most deeply progressive activists. The difference, the team says, is a matter of tone. Advisers also argue that he has done more than any other candidate to personally press for police reform.
“Eric is not new to this, he has been in the fight for police reform for over 30 years and has the know-how to reform the N.Y.P.D. the right way and keep New York City safe,” said Madia Coleman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Adams. “No one in this race has fought harder or delivered more for people of color than Eric Adams.”
Mr. Yang, for his part, has floated the idea of giving tax incentives to corporations and individuals who return to the office five days a week and has suggested he feels the needs of businesses in his “bones.” He has also been a proponent of having more police patrolling the subways and, like Mr. Adams, is comfortable emphasizing the role he sees for the police in public safety
“We’re proud to be leading among progressive voters,” Sasha Neha Ahuja, a campaign manager, said in reference to internal polling. “Clearly Andrew’s message of cash relief, job creation and rebuilding a safe and vibrant city is resonating deeply within the base and across the city.”
Mr. Yang is also being advised by Tusk Strategies, which has emerged as an issue for some progressives. The consultancy has worked closely with Uber and the Police Benevolent Association, the union that endorsed President Donald J. Trump for re-election.