Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Anthony Weiner Can't Win A City Hall Race

The press, particularly the NY Post, were all abuzz about a Marist poll showing Anthony Weiner in second place to Christine Quinn if he decides to jump into the race for mayor.

I wasn't all that impressed with the numbers he garnered in the poll.

First off, he partly gets those numbers just off name recognition alone.

According to the poll, only 38% of the city electorate are paying close attention to the race.

Weiner gets some of his numbers just from his fame (or infamy), but there is a lot of time between now and September and people will have a chance to get to know the other candidates better as they start paying closer attention to the race.

When that happens, I would bet that Weiner's numbers drop.

Second, everybody knows Weiner already - he's at his ceiling for support.

He has no potential for growth the way Thompson, de Blasio or even Liu do.

The press, particularly the NY Post, may want Weiner to run because it will mean great drama and headlines for them but it's hard to see how Weiner does anything by running except try and aggrandize his own ego.

Azi Paybarah, after posting a link to Nate Silver's analysis of the race, looks at the numbers and sees a bleak future for Weiner as well:

My more rudimentary analysis comes to the same conclusion, based on the same key figure: only 15 percent of the Democratic electorate, as measured by the poll, don't know who Weiner is, meaning the support he already has is about all he's likely to get.

For Quinn, that number of Democrats who don't know who she is is 18 percent. For former comptroller Bill Thompson, the number is 36 percent. For Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, it's 35 percent. For Comptroller John Liu, it's 26 percent. And for former councilman Sal Albanese, it's 55 percent.

To be clear, being unknown is nothing for a candidate to brag about. But the lesser known candidates do have more potential to grow their support than the ones about whom everyone has already formed an opinion.

Which in turn means that Weiner's 15 percent may be a cheaper commodity than the similar electorate-shares of the other non-Quinns.

Here's what Silver says about Weiner's chances:

Some poll-watchers are citing the survey as an encouraging one for Mr. Weiner, who has told reporters that he is considering entering the mayor’s race. But in my view, a more careful examination of the poll results — and a consideration of the 40 percent runoff rule that New York will apply in its primary — should yield the conclusion that Mr. Weiner’s chances are remote.

The Marist poll asked Democrats not only about their first choice, but also whether they recognized the names of each candidate and whether they viewed them favorably. Evaluating this evidence is important because voter choices are not likely to be very firm at this point. The primary will not take place until Sept. 10, and only 40 percent of the Democrats in the poll said they were following the race closely or very closely. Advertising and news media coverage of the race has been scant, and so less familiar candidates will have a chance to improve their name recognition. And the poll was a survey of registered voters, rather than those who said they were likely to participate in the primary.


Provided that a candidate has sufficient resources to run a viable campaign, these name-recognition deficiencies are likely to be minimized by Election Day. As a corollary, candidates with limited name recognition have more room to grow, while those with the strongest name recognition may be overrated by early polls. (Consider the case, for example, of Donald Trump, who briefly led Republican presidential primary polls in 2011 at a time when the rest of the field was fairly anonymous to voters.)

In our analysis of presidential primary polls, we have found that adjusting early polls for name recognition generally yields more useful predictions than taking the numbers at face value. 

Weiner's chances of actually winning the race are slim to none.

Weiner's chances of upsetting the applecart and changing the dynamics of the race are pretty good.

Here's hoping he takes his ego and his Twitter account and his comeback p.r. machine and just goes away.

Quinnis dropping in the polls even without Weiner in.

She's down to 30% support in the latest Marist poll from 37% in the last poll taken in February.

In the latest Quinnipiac, she dropped to 32% from 37% in a February Q poll.

Her loss of support is real and it means we have a real race on our hands.

It would be a shame if the Weiner Circus came to town and changed the dynamics of that real race into something more like a spectacle.


  1. There is one goal by the masters of the universe: to do what is necessary to make Lhota mayor and bring Giuliani-ists back. Ignore his crit of Bloomberg -- all part of the act. If Weiner can play a role in making Lhota more likely he will. I believe Lhota beats Quinn after she is softened up by the brutal primary where the idea of Weiner is to force a runoff and weaken her further. Note the attacks on DiBlasio who stands the best chance to beat Lhota. I don't think the traditionalists in Staten Island and parts of Queens will vote for Quinn under any circumstances.

    1. I agree that they are looking to make Lhota mayor. He will be a disaster for the schools, the workforce, etc. But Norm, I just wonder if he can handle a full campaign without having at least one major meltdown. This is a guy who went ad hominem on an 84 year old member of the MTA board and shoved a reporter out of his way once when he was working for Rudy. He hasn't grown up any since then. I dunno if he can handle a campaign without exposing himself as a vile person and a bully.