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Polls: Weiner gaining ground in NYC mayoral battle

Polls: Weiner gaining ground in NYC mayoral battle
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Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 5:09pm

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, now Rep. Sanford, is living proof.

Two new polls suggest that former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York may follow in Sanford's footsteps in winning political redemption.

Weiner was in his seventh term in Congress representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens when he resigned in 2011 after being caught and admitting to sending lewd messages to women via social media.

But last month Weiner returned to campaign politics, announcing a bid for New York City mayor. And two surveys of New York City voters released in the past 24 hours indicate Weiner basically tied in the battle for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, 17% of registered Democrats in Gotham say they would vote for Weiner if their party's mayoral primary were held today, with 19% supporting City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who had been the longtime front-runner in the race. Quinn's two percentage point margin over Weiner is well within the survey's sampling error, meaning the race can be considered a dead heat.

In Quinnpiac's previous poll, which was conducted in mid-May, Quinn stood at 25%, ten points ahead of Weiner, who had the support of 15% of Democrats.

In third place in the new survey, and also basically all tied up with Quinn and Weiner, is former Comptroller Bill Thompson, at 16%. Thompson, the only black candidate in the contest, gained six points since last month's poll.

According to the survey, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio stands at 10% with city Comptroller John Liu at 7%, and nearly three in ten Democratic voters unsure.

Quinnpiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll called Quinn's drop "puzzling," adding that "a few polls ago, she was edging close to the magic 40 percent. Now she's down with the guys."

And Carroll adds that Weiner "does almost as well among women as Quinn."

The Quinnipiac University survey follows the release Tuesday of a Wall Street Journal, NBC New York and Marist poll which indicates Weiner at 25% among registered Democrats, with Quinn at 20%. Weiner's five point advantage is within the survey's sampling error. Following Weiner and Quinn were Thompson at 13%, de Blasio at 10% and Liu at 8%.

Quinn held a five point 24%-19% advantage over Weiner in the previous Wall Street Journal/NBC New York/Marist poll from last month.

"Things are changing - the race has been scrambled by Weiner's candidacy," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "Weiner's candidacy has gotten more acceptable to voters since he announced."

Weiner talked about the controversy that sidetracked his political career in a video that went up online last month where he announced his mayoral candidacy.

"Look, I made some big mistakes, and I know I let a lot of people down. But I've also learned some tough lessons. I'm running for mayor because I've been fighting for the middle class and those struggling my entire life. And I hope I get a second chance to work for you," said Weiner in the video.

In a city where Democrats greatly outnumber Republicans, the winner of the September 10 Democratic primary would be considered the favorite in November's general election race. Public opinion polls suggest potential Democratic nominees with a leads over the GOP nominees in hypothetical matchups.

The winner of the November 5 general election will succeed three term Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent.

If Weiner were to eventually win election as mayor, he would become the second politician this year to achieve political redemption. Sanford's political career was left for dead following an infamous affair, but he ran in a special election earlier this year to fill a vacant U.S. House seat in South Carolina. Sanford succeeded in his comeback, and is now back representing South Carolina's first congressional district, a seat he once held before he became governor.

The Wall Street Journal/NBC New York/Marist poll was conducted June 17-21, with 1,118 registered voters in New York City, including 689 Democrats, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points for questions only of registered Democrats.

The Quinnpiac University poll was conducted June 19-25, with 1,238 registered voters, including 830 Democrats, questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points for questions only of Democrats.

LINK TO Q POLL:  CLICK HERE

LINK TO WSJ/NBC NY/MARIST POLL: CLICK HERE

The-CNN-Wire/Atlanta
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