The End of “Anthony Weiner, Front-Runner”?

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.

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.