Scandals a non-factor as Weiner, Spitzer lead their respective primaries

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, July 15, 2013

It seems voters in the Big Apple are ready to forgive – or at least overlook – the indiscretions of citywide candidates Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, as both are leading in their respective primaries according to a new poll by Quinnipiac University.

The poll, which was released Monday, found that Weiner, a former congressman, leads City Council President Christine Quinn 25 percent to 22 percent in the crowded Democratic primary for Mayor. Weiner resigned from office in 2011 after he was caught tweeting lewd photographs of himself to several different women.

The study also found that Spitzer, who resigned as governor in 2008 after being caught up in a prostitution scandal, is ahead of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer in the Democratic primary for City Comptroller 48 percent to 33 percent. Even if the voters are able to overlook his tawdry affairs, however, Spitzer isn’t able to completely run away from his past, as the madam he once hired prostitutes from – Kristin Davis – is running for City Comptroller on the libertarian ticket.

In fact, the voters largely believe that financial impropriety is a far worse offense for an elected official than sexual misconduct, 69 percent to 22 percent. Similar numbers were found among women (66 to 25 percent), African-Americans (65 to 28 percent) and Hispanic voters (60 to 31 percent).

Although Weiner and Spitzer are winning big among both African-Americans and men, being the best known candidates in their primaries – for good or for bad – does help in their favor.

“Notoriety has earned the ‘Tabloid Twins,’ former Gov. Eliot Spitzer as Client 9 and former Congressman Anthony (Tweets) Weiner, good initial numbers in the polls,” Maurice Carroll, the director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a press release. “Whether those numbers hold up in the real poll on Primary Election Day is the big question.”

Quinnipiac University surveyed 738 registered Democrats via landline and cell phone in New York City from July 8-14, 2013. The study has a margin of error of +/- 3.6 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

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