A new poll out today from Wall Street Journal/NBC 4/Marist shows that support for Anthony Weiner's New York City mayoral candidacy has seriously bottomed out. Since a poll taken in late June, which had Weiner leading City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, there has been a 14-point swing in Quinn's favor. Quinn is now up with 25 percent of the vote, and Anthony Weiner (16 percent) is in a statistical tie with former Comptroller Bill Thompson (14 percent) for second place. The poll was conducted Wednesday, the day after Anthony Weiner's press conference and the leak of new sexually explicit messages and pictures.
This was probably bound to happen.
Yes, this appears to be a big, dramatic change due largely to the new revelations from The Dirty (at current writing, the site is very NSFW unless your employer is OK with pictures of Anthony Weiner's genitals). But, as Weiner has said, these revelations were sure to come out eventually. And when they did, they were likely going to hurt his favorability and his odds of winning the election. The new poll shows this: In June, Weiner's unfavorability was 36 percent. In the most recent poll, it was 55 percent. And 43 percent of Democrats now think he should drop out of the race.
This is still a pretty sudden shift for Weiner. Just last week, a Qunnipiac poll had him up 25 percent to 22 percent against Quinn, and down only 23 percent to 21 percent among women. But just because it's sudden doesn't mean it should be too big of a surprise.
In June, when the first polls came out showing an advantage for Weiner, we pointed out a FiveThirtyEight analysis showing that the winner of five of the last six Democratic primaries for New York mayor was the early front-runner and polling leader. Christine Quinn had led every poll in 2013 until the end of June. She hasn't been a strong front-runner by any means, but she's had consistent institutional support, and the odds have long been more in her favor than not.
As National Journal's Steven Shepard wrote Wednesday though, Weiner's fall doesn't just help Quinn. It could also benefit Bill Thompson, now neck-and-neck with Weiner for second place. And if there was a head-to-head runoff between Thompson and Quinn, Thompson currently holds a 51 percent to 42 percent lead, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. The same poll showed that a Quinn-Weiner runoff would give Quinn a slight edge within the margin of error, 46 percent to 44 percent. That poll, though, which was conducted from July 18-23, may not have captured the full response to the latest revelations.
Today's news is tough for Weiner. But as was the case with the initial news of his sexual exploits, we shouldn't be surprised that his early popularity is now taking a dive. And with news breaking Thursday that, according to Weiner, he had relationships with up to three women after he resigned from Congress, the news for the would-be mayor isn't likely to get brighter anytime soon.