Anthony Weiner sets record for unfavorable rating in new poll

A new Siena College poll shows that most New York City and State voters are embarrassed by the the attention given to Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer.

Richard Drew/AP and Mark Lennihan/AP
A new poll suggests New York voters are not too happy about the scandals dogging Anthony Weiner (l.) and Eliot Spitzer, who are running for mayor and comptroller of New York City, respectively.

New York voters overwhelmingly said they are embarrassed by the media attention focused on the political comebacks being attempted by Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer, who each previously resigned from public office after a sex scandal and now are running for different New York City offices.

A Siena College poll released Monday found that 68 percent of New York State voters and 62 percent of New York City voters said they were embarrassed by what the pollsters noted was a “great deal of the attention across the country” focused on the two candidates.

The poll also held a dubious distinction for Mr. Weiner. Eighty percent of New York state voters rated him unfavorably – the highest unfavorable rating ever recorded in the Siena poll. Mr. Spitzer had a 79 percent unfavorable rating after resigning as governor in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal, but that has declined to 59 percent in the latest Siena poll, conducted Aug. 4-7 among 814 registered voters.

“We are talking about America’s most infamous tweeter and America’s most notorious ‘john,’ ” Siena pollster Steven Greenberg told The Associated Press.  “Those are not the eccentricities of candidates that New York City voters usually embrace.”

Spitzer is running for city comptroller, while Weiner is running for mayor. Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 after it was revealed he sent sexually explicit messages to women. Public support for his mayoral bid crashed when he admitted last month to having continued to send inappropriate text messages and pictures after he resigned from Congress.

The New Yorkers who said they are most embarrassed by the coverage of the candidates were women, Republicans, and older voters, though the differences were not pronounced. Some 72 percent of women voters said they were embarrassed versus 63 percent of men. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Republicans said they were embarrassed versus 66 percent of Democrats. And 64 percent of those in the 18-to-34 age bracket said they were embarrassed versus 71 percent among those 55 and older.

Sixteen percent of state voters said the attention given to the scandals is "no big deal," and 8 percent said it is entertaining.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. 

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