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Polls: Weiner's Lead Evaporates; Spitzer Still Ahead

By Melanie Batley   |   Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 02:28 PM

New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's support among Democrats has tanked after revelations this week that the former congressman continued to engage in sexually explicit relationships with women on the Internet after his 2011 resignation, a new poll has found.

However, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's past sexual indiscretions, do not appear to be denting his lead over rival Scott Stringer in the New York City comptroller race, another poll has found.

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Weiner's lead over City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has evaporated, with just 16 percent saying they would support Weiner, compared to 25 percent who now favor Quinn, according to the NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll conducted Wednesday of 551 registered Democrats.

Exactly one month ago, the same poll showed Weiner with a lead over all other Democratic rivals, including Quinn who had 20 percent support compared to 25 percent for Weiner.
Weiner's favorability ratings among registered Democrats has also plummeted from 52 percent to 30 percent, while the percentage of respondents who said they had an unfavorable impression of Weiner skyrocketed from 36 percent to 55 percent.

"These new revelations have cost Anthony the lead in the Democratic field," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "His negatives are at an all-time high."

While last month's poll showed 59 percent of Democrats believing Weiner deserved another chance, this week's survey saw that number drop to 47 percent, with 45 percent saying he didn't have the character to be mayor.

"Clearly, as we go through the numbers, at least for Weiner, a sense of redemption overload has set in," Miringoff said.

The picture is slightly different for Spitzer in his race for comptroller, indicating that redemption for past misdeeds is still possible for New York political hopefuls.

Spitzer leads Stringer 49 percent to 45 percent, though Stringer supporters are more committed to their candidate, with 73 percent saying they will definitely back him compared to 61 percent who say the same of Spitzer, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll of 507 Democratic likely voters conducted July 18-23.

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Voters haven't forgotten about the prostitution sex scandal that led Spitzer to resign. Fifty-three percent of Democratic likely voters say the scandal surrounding his resignation is a legitimate issue in the campaign, compared to 44 percent who say it was not -- though only 25 percent say it disqualifies him as a candidate.

"Spitzer's resignation as governor after he turned up as a prostitute's 'Client 9' is a legitimate issue, voters say, but they don't think it disqualifies him as a candidate," said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

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