We cannot possibly know how Spitzer will shake up the comptroller’s race, or whether Spitzer’s entry will, in some way, affect Weiner in the mayoral race. To do so, we’ll have to wait for polling at the end of the week. At first glance, though, Spitzer’s run seems less likely to succeed than Weiner’s. Here are five reasons why.
1. Weiner’s problem was the sex scandal; Spitzer’s was not
The last poll in 2011 before Weinergate had the then congressman with a slim single-digit lead in the mayoral primary. That tends to match up with the last poll of his aborted 2009 run. Weiner’s net favorable rating in New York City at that point was +18pt, with 55% of voters not holding an opinion of him. That suggests he had room to rise.
Spitzer, on the other hand, was quite disliked before his scandal. As Smith points out, Spitzer made few friends, with governing style that was characterised in his phrase “I am a fucking steamroller”. The month before scandal hit, Spitzer’s net approval rating in New York City was -17pt – and almost everyone had an opinion of him. Only 23% of New York City voters wanted him to seek re-election (pdf), while 51% preferred someone else.
The point is that even if Spitzer gets people to concentrate on him, instead of the sex scandal, they might start remembering how little they liked him.