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Mayoral candidates, city councilwoman LaToya Cantrell, left, and Desiree Charbonnet a former Municipal Court judge, right, participate in a debate put on by Lake Area neighborhood associations at the St. Dominic School Gym in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Advocate staff photo by MAX BECHERER

A new poll predicts that New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell could win the mayor's race by as much as 20 percentage points. 

A survey of 400 likely voters conducted by Market Research Insight on Tuesday and Wednesday found Cantrell leading runoff opponent Desiree Charbonnet 53-36. The 17-point gap is two points wider than what a similar MRI poll found last week. 

If the 11 percent of voters who remain undecided break along the same lines as those who have already made a choice, it would give Cantrell 60 percent of the run-off vote, said MRI President Verne Kennedy. 

“I don’t see a whole lot of hope for Charbonnet at this point at all,” he said.

The poll, which had a 4.9 percent margin of error, was paid for by group of 20 business people including John Georges, who owns The New Orleans Advocate.

LaToya Cantrell holds clear lead in New Orleans mayor's race ahead of election, polls show

The poll also found that Cantrell’s voters are becoming more committed, even as Charbonnet’s support is softening. The percentage of voters “strongly committed” to Cantrell rose from 30 percent to 32 percent over the past week, while those “strongly committed” to Charbonnet fell from 24 percent of voters to 19 percent.

Cantrell leads among Democrats 58-32, while Charbonnet has a 51-37 advantage among Republicans and a slight 45-43 lead among independents.

Kennedy said Charbonnet's campaign seems to have suffered lasting damage from attack mailers and ads put out by the political action committee Not For Sale NOLA, formed by charter school advocate Leslie Jacobs and other members of the business community.

“I feel the independent expenditures, the Leslie Jacobs PAC, was largely responsible for defining Desiree early,” Kennedy said. “Even though she went into this with the money and the people and everything else she was really defined before she could define herself.”

Follow Jeff Adelson on Twitter, @jadelson.​