Poll: Anthony Weiner already in second place in NYC mayoral race for some reason

The bad news? Between this and what’s going on in South Carolina, American voters seem to have finally jettisoned any pretense of standards for their political leaders.

The good news? We’re still on track for a Sanford-versus-Weiner presidential election in 2028. Cross those fingers.

According to the poll, if Weiner entered the Democratic primary today, his 15 percent would put him behind Quinn’s 26 percent but ahead of City Comptroller John Liu (12 percent), de Blasio (11 percent), Thompson (11 percent) and former City Councilman Sal Albanese (2 percent).

By comparison, without Weiner, Quinn would receive 30 percent of Democratic votes and de Blasio would be second with 15 percent, followed by Thompson (14 percent), Liu (11 percent) and Albanese (2 percent).

In short, with Weiner in the race, Quinn, de Blasio and Thompson all suffer.

“He’d make it much more difficult for anyone to reach 40 percent to avoid a runoff,” Miringoff said…

Pollsters asked general election voters about two hypothetical November matchups against likely Republican nominee Joe Lhota. If Quinn was the Democratic nominee, she’d beat Lhota 59 percent to 19 percent. If Weiner were the nominee, he’d beat Lhota 51 percent to 28 percent. In both scenarios, 21 percent said they were undecided.

The city hasn’t had a Democratic mayor in nearly 20 years and there’s no Giuliani or Bloomberg (nominally an independent) on the Republican ticket this time. Whoever wins the Dem primary is a heavy favorite to win the general, and right now only 34 percent of Dems say they’re strongly committed to their current candidate. If Weiner ends up in a runoff with Quinn, whose polling is obviously weak, why couldn’t he win?

Maybe this is why:


His popularity within his own party is below 50 percent without a single attack ad having been fired at him yet. By comparison, Quinn’s favorable rating among Democrats is 59/23. He’s well known compared to most of the field (how could he not be?), which likely explains why he’s got 15 percent right out of the chute. But what happens when you nudge voters about the … “unpleasantness” of two years ago? This:


There are more Democrats who say they wouldn’t consider voting for him than would. But those numbers will move: If he seems contrite and talks nothing but policy policy policy, as he’s already doing, he can try to remake himself as the flawed guy who’s got too many good ideas for left-leaning New Yorkers not to give him a serious look. (Turn the election into a referendum on redemption, as Sanford did in the SC-1 primary, and he’ll get some consideration.) And if something scandal-ish happens with Quinn, that gives him a chance to say that everyone’s flawed, which means the race should be about substance and not dirty laundry. His big problem vis-a-vis Quinn is fundraising, but he’s got a few months to build on his polling here to convince old friends with deep pockets that he’s worth taking a chance on. The vibe on Twitter seems to be that he has sub-zero chance to win, but I’d give him, say, 10 percent. Good lord, I think I’m talking myself into this. Weiner for mayor! May a thousand skeevy tweets from Gracie Mansion bloom!

Update: Forecaster Harry Enten gives four reasons to think, yep, this is doable. Keep hope alive:

The facts that he’s already in position to make the runoff as it stands, that his favorables are going in the right direction, and that the frontrunner is stalled, are all good signs. That doesn’t mean he will win. I am still partial to the possibility of Bill Thompson overhauling the others, given the math above.

At this point, all the candidates’ hopes are very much alive. But do I think Anthony Weiner can win this thing? Absolutely, he could.

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