Eliot Spitzer hasn't alienated female voters in NYC comptroller race: Poll

Holly Bailey
Yahoo News
spitzer women
Comptroller candidate Eliot Spitzer campaigns at the West Indian Day Parade on September 2, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Over a million people are expected to attend the 46th annual parade. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Five years after a prostitution scandal forced him out of office, Eliot Spitzer’s push for political redemption has found surprising traction with a voting bloc that had been expected to be hostile to his bid for city comptroller: women.

A new Quinnipiac University poll found Spitzer narrowly trailing rival Scott Springer ahead of next week’s Democratic primary — 45 percent to Stringer’s 47 percent, a result that is still within the poll’s plus or minus 3.6 percent margin of error.

The poll suggests one reason the race is so tight is because female voters haven’t totally opposed Spitzer’s bid as some predicted when he joined the race in early July. According to Quinnipiac, Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, has only a 1-point advantage over Spitzer among female voters, 46 percent to Spitzer’s 45 percent.

Those results come in spite of a major push from the Stringer campaign in recent weeks to woo female voters. Last week, his campaign launched a “Women for Stringer” effort, featuring endorsements from virtually every female politician in the city, including mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn, as well as actresses such as Sigourney Weaver, Scarlett Johansson and Lena Dunham.

But Spitzer has also been courting women, targeting them with TV ads that have played up his record on issues including paid sick leave and school funding. An ad unveiled last week titled “The Things That Matter” argues Spitzer “did more to protect women’s health and our right to choose than almost any other elected official anywhere.”

Another factor keeping Spitzer in the race: his strong support among black voters, who favor his candidacy 61 percent to Stringer’s 32 percent.