Anthony Weiner's comeback gamble might be paying off. What seemed improbable became perhaps the inevitable last night, as new polling shows Weiner in the lead of the Democratic primary for New York City mayor for the first time ever over his chief rival, Christine Quinn. He's up, but he's not in the clear — and one big tabloid scoop could still bring him back down.
The shamed former Congressman who resigned after an unflattering sexting scandal two years ago is apparently shamed no more in the eyes of many voters. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll shows Weiner topping Quinn, the New York City Council speaker, at 25 percent to 20 among registered Democrats polled. And Weiner is beating her in every demographic but one: white people.
Quinn has been the consistent frontrunner in the primary race since, well, the very beginning. She seemingly had Mayor Bloomber's support. Nothing could go wrong — but she got some bad press in the Times, the mayor's support faltered and this Weiner guy showed up. Now he's got a stronger base within the party and everything is trending in his direction, as National Journal's Matt Berman explains:
And in more bad news for Quinn, only 34 percent of her supporters say they are firmly committed, compared to 45 percent of Weiner's. And while Anthony Weiner still has higher negatives, Quinn's have shot up from 17 percent of voters in February to 29 percent now. Quinn's support since February has consistently declined, while Weiner's support since April (when polling for him began) has consistently risen.
But Weiner doesn't necessarily have this thing wrapped up just yet. History shows he's still beatable. The New York Times's Micah Cohen, at the FiveThirtyEight blog, explained how the early Democratic frontrunner has always advanced to New York's mayoral general election since 1989. The only exception came in 2009 when the early frontrunner dropped out and decided not to enter the general. That person? Anthony Weiner. So unless we're on some political Final Destination tip — you can't stop the inevitable, only delay it — then Quinn will find a way to rally.
All kinds of things could knock Weiner from his newly held perch, with one glaring, very obvious one poking ahead of the rest: more sexts. There have been hints they exist in the past, but none have yet surfaced. But with every ugly story that comes out, whether it's about his spotty congressional record or the women on the receiving end of his Twitpics, the ominous nature of even more Twitpics looms over every punny Weiner headline. When will they finally pop up?