The End of "Anthony Weiner, Front-Runner"?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
July 18 2013 9:42 AM

The End of "Anthony Weiner, Front-Runner"?

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Quinn surges as Weiner sags.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Siena Poll, which has a pretty solid record of tracking momentum in congressional or municipal races, dives into the New York mayoral race and finds—at last!—a sag for Anthony Weiner. From the Times' write-up:

The poll found that among Democratic voters, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, is leading the field, with support from 27 percent, followed by Anthony D. Weiner, a former congressman, who was supported by 18 percent. Bill de Blasio, the public advocate, and William C. Thompson Jr., a former comptroller, were each backed by 11 percent of Democratic voters, while John C. Liu, the current comptroller, had support from 7 percent.

It's the first poll to find a sizable lead for Quinn in more than a month. In Quinnipiac polls (funny enough), her favorable numbers have cratered all year, falling from a blissfully ignorant +40 to a campaign-battered +5. And they're not great, here—she's got a 29-27 positive rating among Democratic voters. Her saving grace is that Anthony Weiner's favorables are deeply negative, 12 points underwater with Democratic voters.

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This is as good a time as any to explain why Eliot Spitzer's path to redemption-through-election is clearer than Weiner's. If no one gets 40 percent in the first round of a New York City election, the top two candidates head to a runoff. It's been obvious all year that Quinn would end up in a runoff with ... someone. She'd start it with an advantage over Weiner. In 2005 Weiner spent the month before the primary surging among voters who hadn't met him before, and that's just a difficult trick to repeat.

But Spitzer? He's got it easy. On Sept. 9 Democratic voters choose between him and Scott Stringer. Whoever makes it out has to face John Burnett, a black Republican financier.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.