Disgraced U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner could be roaring back to prominence
as a new poll shows he is surging to the forefront of the New York City Democratic mayoral race.
Weiner leads the other Democratic candidates to replace outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to a new NBC 4 New York/Marist College/Wall Street Journal poll,
and appears to have transformed from a scandal-marred politician to mayoral frontrunner for the United States' largest city.
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"In many ways, it doesn't change anything," he told reporters. "We're going to keep talking about ideas for the middle class."
Two years ago, Weiner resigned his congressional seat after he lied about sending lewd photos of himself to women on Twitter. He eventually confessed. Now, he has surpassed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by a 25 percent to 20 percent margin among registered Democrats -- just one month after entering the campaign, according to a Marist poll.
The poll was based on responses from 1,118 registered voters from June 17-21, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Of the respondents, 689 were registered Democrats.
Those numbers are a drastic change from a May survey, in which Quinn led Weiner 24 percent to 19 percent.
A runoff on the Democratic side appears likely, since none of the polls project any of the candidates will take the required 40 percent of the vote on Sept. 10. If that is the case, a second contest will be held between the top two candidates.
Weiner is the underdog in that scenario, but he is gaining momentum. Quinn leads Weiner 44 percent to 42 percent, with 14 percent undecided, a slim margin compared to last month's poll that showed Quinn by a 48-33 margin, with 18 percent undecided.
Quinn's campaign spokesman said her team is unfazed by the findings.
"We fully expect the polls to fluctuate throughout the campaign, but we are confident that on Election Day, when voters have to decide who they want to lead this city, they will choose someone who has demonstrated the ability to lead and deliver," spokesman Mike Morey told the New York Daily News.
Weiner has been received positively on the campaign trail by a seemingly forgiving public.
Other positive news for Weiner: 49 percent of registered New York voters said they might vote for Weiner, up from 40 percent two months ago.
Like other politicians who faced scandals before him, including South Carolina's Mark Sanford
and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer
, Weiner has apologized, portraying himself as a middle-class guy from Brooklyn.
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Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, told NBC4 New York that things are looking up for the politician.
"The race changed when he got into the race, and he’s been able to survive returning to electoral politics, at least to this point," Miringoff said.
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