WSJ/Marist Poll: Spitzer's Ahead

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 10:50 PM

By Matthew Auerbach

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Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has a sizable lead over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the race for city comptroller, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The results of an NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll shows Spitzer ahead by 9 percentage points, even though he only threw his hat in the ring on Sunday.

Spitzer, who left office in disgrace in 2008 after he was busted in a prostitution scandal, retains a high favorability rating with Big Apple Democrats.

Forty-six percent said they had a positive opinion of him with only 40 percent saying the same about Stringer.

Sixty-seven percent of Democrats said they believed Spitzer deserved a second chance at holding elected office, with 44 percent saying he has changed.

Almost two-thirds of those polled said the prostitution scandal had little to no consequence on the race.

New Yorkers seemed able to separate Spitzer’s personal and professional decisions, with 57 percent of Democratic voters saying they were confident he would do a good job as comptroller.

The Wall Street Journal reports New York City Democrats appear to be ready to forgive, if not forget, Spitzer’s past indescretions.

“People want to give [Mr. Spitzer] a second chance,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

“A plurality think he's changed, they think he would make a good comptroller and they don't think the sex scandal matters all that much in deciding their vote.”

Spitzer, who admitted his decision to enter the race was not based on prior polling, was pleased by the poll’s results.

“I'm gratified, needless to say, that I'm ahead,” Spitzer said.

“It's very comforting. But it reflects that I have a lot of work I'm going to do. This is the first set of numbers that I've seen in any way, shape and form, so it's nice to see.”

All these positive numbers may not mean anything come Election Day.

In order to actually run and make it on the Sept. 10 Democratic primary ballot, Spitzer has to gather 3,750 signatures by Thursday.

The NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll was conducted July 8-9 with 536 registered Democrats.

The margin of error was +/- 4 percentage points.

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