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Scandal sends Weiner into 'free fall'

30 July 2013, 09:30

New York — A new poll says Anthony Weiner has slipped to fourth place in the Democratic race for New York City mayor after his latest sexting scandal emerged last week. Poll director Maurice Carroll says Weiner is in "free fall".

"He can't win. He simply can't win," Carroll said.

Monday's poll — which Weiner led just five days ago — also showed about half of likely Democratic voters saying Weiner should abandon his mayoral bid.

Standing side by side with his wife, Weiner admitted last week that he had tawdry online exchanges — including X-rated photos — with a then-22 year-old Indiana woman after he stepped down from Congress in 2011 over similar behaviour. He later said he had similar exchanges with two other women after his resignation.

Weiner is married to Huma Abedin, a former aide to Hillary Clinton.

Weiner's support fell from 26% last week to 16% in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. Last week's survey was taken largely before Weiner's latest scandal was revealed.

Comeback derailed

In a statement, Weiner said "polls don't change anything".

But last week's revelation has seemingly derailed his political comeback.

Weiner kept campaigning on Monday despite countless calls — including from pundits and powerful members of his own party — to step aside.

"I'm going to keep talking about the things important to this city," he said at a campaign stop in the borough of Queens. "I'm going to let New Yorkers decide."

The Quinnipiac poll shows Weiner trailing City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (27%), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (21%) and ex-city comptroller Bill Thompson (20%).

Political theatre

If none of the Democratic candidates reach 40% of the vote in the 10 September primary, the top two advance to a run-off election two weeks later. The winner would then face the Republican nominee in November.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, continued to shy away from discussing Weiner's campaign.

"This is summer political theatre in New York," Cuomo said on Monday. "We laugh because if we didn't laugh, we would cry, right?"

Pollsters surveyed 446 likely Democratic voters from Wednesday to Sunday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

- AP


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