Before Tuesday’s revelation that Anthony Weiner had continued sending lewd messages and images to strangers online even after his resignation from Congress, he had emerged as the frontrunner in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City. A Quinnipiac poll on July 15 showed him leading City Council Speaker Christine Quinn among registered Democrats in the city, 25% to 22%.
Many analysts suggested Tuesday evening that the public would not forgive a second Weiner scandal. However, the Quinnipiac poll suggested that the New York City electorate is not concerned about sex scandals. Several politicians have recently defied analysts’ predictions to survive sex scandals, including former South Carolina Gov. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) (R), who won a special election to Congress earlier this year.
Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, now running for New York City Comptroller, also enjoyed a comfortable lead in the Quinnipiac poll over his rivals. Both Weiner and Spitzer have reconciled with their wives. Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, emerged as the star of his press conference Tuesday, beaming at reporters and affirming her support for her husband despite difficult and embarrassing circumstances.
Breitbart News’ Kerry Picket, appearing on Fox News’ Hannity, predicted that Weiner might experience a “bounce” in the polls initially, owing to the intense media coverage of the scandal. Whether he can sustain that rise remains unclear. Speaker Quinn has yet to comment publicly on the scandal, but will likely make Weiner’s repeated problems with trust–and self-restraint–a key issue heading into the Sep. 10 primary.