Poll Puts Elliot Spitzer At Top In NYC Comptroller’s Race

Eliot Spitzer

The news of Elliot Spitzer’s attempted return to politics earlier this week led many to snicker, but a new poll would seem to indicate that he’s got an even better chance of making his comeback complete than Anthony Weiner does:

Former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer leads Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer by nine percentage points in the race for New York City comptroller, according to a Wall Street Journal-NBC 4 New York-Marist poll.

Among registered Democrats, including those who are undecided but leaning toward a candidate, Mr. Spitzer outpaces Mr. Stringer 42% to 33% in the Democratic primary, the poll showed. Nearly a quarter of voters were undecided, but two-thirds of Democrats, or 67%, said they believe Mr. Spitzer, who resigned as governor five years ago after he was caught patronizing prostitutes, should be given a second chance.

Mr. Spitzer, a former two-term attorney general, jolted the city’s political world when he announced on Sunday that he would launch an 11th-hour campaign to collect the 3,750 signatures he needs by Thursday night to secure a place on the Sept. 10 primary ballot. For months, it appeared as if Mr. Stringer would be uncontested in the primary. The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to win the general election.

“People want to give [Mr. Spitzer] a second chance. A plurality think he’s changed, they think he would make a good comptroller and they don’t think the sex scandal matters all that much in deciding their vote,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Much of this is name recognition no doubt. After all, he was Attorney General of New York for eight years before becoming Governor, and a very out-front activist Attorney General at that. However, it would appear that there’s enough good will left among New Yorker’s to give him a solid chance of winning this race. That depends on whether he can get on the ballot, of course. Granted, 3.750 signatures isn’t a lot in a city like New York, but the general rule of thumb is that you need to gather much more than that to ensure that there are enough valid signatures in the event of a challenge. Reports are that Spitzer has had paid petitioners on the streets of New York since Monday, so we’ll know sometime soon whether that effort was successful. If it is, then Weiner-Spitzer could become a reality.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I hate to have to say “I told you so,” but …

  2. Barfour says:

    Weiner, Spitzer and Sanford. Three people I thought were finished in politics. Could John Edwards also make a comeback?

  3. stonetools says:

    All this shows what is an increasing trend: the right ideology trumps all. It explains why Vitter was re-elected, why Sanford won, and the success of Weiner and Spitzer. Voters are increasingly likely to focus on whether a candidate’s political program is in line with theirs, and to discount the foibles of a candidate’s personal life-especially, if it appears that their wives have forgiven the candidates.
    It also helps if the erring brothers have sojourned in the wilderness a while and return to politics seeking an office lower than the one they left (Weiner is arguably an exception to this). I say “brothers” because no woman has come back like this.
    It’s all a new trend, so there are no rules yet. But it’s now clear that adultery or sex scandals do not end a national political career any longer

  4. Tillman says:

    @Barfour: Nope.

  5. @Barfour:

    Edwards has a federal criminal conviction against him, he’s not making any comeback