In the first public poll conducted since Anthony Weiner released a video announcing his plans to run for mayor of New York City, the former congressman is only 5 percentage points behind frontrunner Christine Quinn in a crowded Democratic primary match-up. But Weiner still faces a murky path to City Hall, as he trails Quinn by double-digits in a hypothetical runoff for the nomination.
The Marist College poll, conducted during the three days immediately following Weiner's announcement, shows Quinn, the City Council speaker, leading the primary field with 24 percent, with Weiner following at 19 percent. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, the party's 2009 nominee against Mayor Mike Bloomberg, finish with 12 percent and 11 percent, respectively, while embattled Comptroller John Liu receives 8 percent. Two little-known contenders, former City Councilman Sal Albanese and pastor Erick Salgado, pull in 1 percent or less, while 23 percent of Democratic voters said they are undecided.
While Weiner's overall numbers are improving, the poll suggests that he would have a hard time advancing out of a runoff, which would be triggered if no candidate receives more than 40 percent in the September primary. While Quinn leads Weiner by only 5 points in the seven-candidate primary, her advantage balloons to 15 points, 48 percent to 33 percent, in a one-on-one match-up with Weiner.
Weiner significantly outperforms Thompson and de Blasio in the larger primary, but the other two Democrats fare similarly when paired with Quinn in runoffs. The speaker leads Thompson 44 percent to 34 percent, and she outpaces de Blasio 48 percent to 30 percent. Thompson and de Blasio are significantly less well-known than Weiner, suggesting they may have more room to grow their support than the former congressman.
The poll does show that a majority of Democratic voters, 59 percent, say Weiner deserves a second chance after resigning from Congress in 2011 over his inappropriate behavior on social media. By comparison, only 35 percent of Democrats say Weiner doesn't have the character to be mayor. And an equal percentage of city Democrats, 44 percent, say they have a favorable view of Weiner as those who report an unfavorable view.
Despite these numbers, Quinn's hefty runoff lead suggest that Weiner's comeback remains a longshot. And you can expect Thompson and de Blasio, Weiner's chief competitors for the second spot in the likely runoff, to start telling Democratic voters that Weiner's scandal-ridden past makes him unelectable.
The Marist poll, conducted May 22 through My 24, surveyed 492 registered Democrats for a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.4 percentage points.