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Quinn Takes Back Her Lead

July 26, 2013

Marist released a poll for the New York City mayoral race yesterday, which it advertises as the “first poll conducted entirely after the latest scandalous details emerged” – referring of course, to former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s continuing sexting scandal. The poll shows Weiner running nine points behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 25 – 16.

The best apples-to-apples comparison for this Marist poll is the last Marist poll, released on June 26. That poll showed Weiner leading Quinn, 25 – 20. In other words, Weiner dropped nine points and Quinn gained five. Some of Weiner’s losses went to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who jumped from 10 to 14 points, and former Comptroller Bill Thompson, who ticked up from 13 to 14.

Moreover, Weiner’s negatives “soared,” in Marist’s characterization. His disapproval rating in June was 36 percent, already the highest in the race. Yesterday’s poll showed Weiner with a 55 percent unfavorable rating. When your disapproval rating goes over 50 percent six weeks before the primary, your candidacy is in serious trouble, especially since it is almost certain that the primary will be followed three weeks later by a two-candidate runoff.

The only candidate besides Weiner who lost ground from Marist-June to Marist-July is current Comptroller John Liu – from eight to seven percent, both times in fifth place. Most comptrollers want to be mayor, but none of them have made it since Abe Beame won electoral promotion in 1973. Since then, Thompson is the only comptroller even to win the Democratic nomination – in 2009, Thompson won the honor of losing the general election to incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Alan Hevesi came in fourth at eight percent in 2001, and Harrison Goldin came in third with four percent in 1989.

Liu hasn’t come in above nine percent in any major poll since April. The Democratic primary race is, as it has been for several months now, a four-person deal: Quinn, Weiner, de Blasio and Thompson. Barring some fairly important unforeseen development, Quinn is headed for the runoff. The big question remaining is who will be the other candidate to make the runoff.

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