The mighty had fallen. And now, the fallen are mighty again.
Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, whose careers were individually derailed by sex scandals, are both at the top of the pack in their respective races.
According to a new Quinnipiac University poll, former New York Gov. Spitzer is ahead of Democratic rival Scott Stringer in the race for New York City comptroller, 48% to 30% among registered Democrats. And former Congressman Weiner, who’s running for mayor in the Big Apple, is just ahead of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn 25% to 22%.
Spitzer called it quits five years ago after he was caught cavorting with prostitutes. He created waves last week when he announced his last minute intentions to run, just two months before the September primary. And Weiner stepped down in 2011 after tweeting lewd photos of himself to strangers, then repeatedly lying about it on national television.
“Notoriety has earned the ‘Tabloid Twins’…good initial numbers in the polls,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “Whether those numbers hold up in the real poll on Primary Election Day is the big question.”
The survey found that support among black voters helped push both Weiner and Spitzer to the top. Just 26% of black Dems supported Stringer compared to 61% for Spitzer. And in the mayoral race, 31% of black voters support Weiner compared to 16% for Quinn.
There’s also a slight gender gap in both races. Men back Spitzer 53% to 33% while women support him by a slimmer margin, 44% to 32%. And Weiner is ahead of Quinn among men, 29% to 21% but 23% to 21% among women.
Respondents said there were worse sins than sexual misconduct, including financial impropriety, by a 69% to 22% margin.
Carroll said an additional lingering question is if it’s “better to be well-known mainly for a sex scandal than to be largely unknown?”