Rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated. Former Representative Anthony Weiner is top dog in the New York City mayor’s race, while former governor Eliot Spitzer is leading in the race to be the city’s next comptroller.
Propelled by high name identification and weeks of incessant media coverage, the pair of once disgraced pols is pulling off what seemed impossible a few short years ago: a political comeback. Both Weiner, who famously tweeted photos of his crotch to women on the Internet, and Spitzer, who was caught up in a federal prostitution probe, were forced to resign their offices but appear to be earning the forgiveness of New York City Democrats.
The two candidates, who entered their respective races late in the cycle, have turned their political fortunes around. Weiner leads in the race for the Democratic nomination with 25% of the primary vote, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Monday afternoon — up 8 percentage points in less than a month. He leads city-council speaker Christine Quinn, who has 22%, former comptroller William Thompson with 11%, public advocate Bill de Blasio with 10%, and comptroller John Liu with 7%, while 21% remain undecided. The Democratic race for mayor is almost certainly heading for a runoff, with the crowded field unlikely to put the front runner over the required 40% threshold.
Spitzer, who entered the Democratic primary for comptroller against Manhattan borough president Scott Stringer last week, holds a 48%-to-33% lead over his competitor.
Spitzer in particular is facing little drag from his past sins, though both underperform among women. His favorability is 53% among registered Democrats, compared with 32% unfavorable. Among men it’s 58% to 30%, and women 50% to 33%. Weiner’s favorability stands at 42%, with 36% holding unfavorable opinions. Among men he’s at 50% to 31%, and women 37% to 40%. Both candidates’ favorability ratings top all their competitors.
The poll surveyed 738 New York City registered Democrats from July 8 to 14, with a margin of error of ±3.6 percentage points.