Marist released a poll last night showing Anthony Weiner in first place in the Democratic primary for NYC mayor.
Weiner received 25% of the vote, Christine Quinn 20%, Bill Thompson 13%, Bill de Blasio 10% and John Liu 8%.
Quinn lost four percentage points from the last Marist poll, Weiner went up six, Thompson went up two.
On the face of it, this looks like a good poll for Weiner and a disaster for Quinn.
But the poll may also be good news for Bill Thompson too.
First, it proves Quinn is no longer the "frontrunner" and she's been a paper
tiger all along. The "frontrunner curse" has been broken and the race is now officially wide open.
Second, she's going to be desperate now and we can
expect her to go very negative on Weiner. She
already targeted him in a speech last week, but with the first official poll out
showing her in second place (confirming what she already knew in her private
polling), she's going to have to continue to go negative at him. That's
the kind of thing that drives down the poll numbers of not only the
target - in this case, Weiner - but also the politician doing all the negative
advertising - in this case, Quinn. That's also the kind of thing that helps a third candidate who doesn't go negative - say, like Bill Thompson.
Third, with Weiner now topping a poll for the first time, he's going to get some serious scrutiny. Yes, it's true that he got a little when he first entered the race, but not the kind he's going to get now. Questions over TwitterGate will arise (perhaps even the question of whether he lied about sexting with a seventeen year old), but so will questions over his maturity, his leadership qualities, his temperament and his inability to hold on to a staff. It's better that Weiner top a poll now and get some serious scrutiny in July and August rather than go ahead in late August and get some momentum going into the September primary.
Fourth, Thompson's support was undercounted in the 2009 race and it's quite possible it's being undercounted now. This sometimes happens with minority candidates who garner support from minority communities. Are the pollsters reaching people in these communities who do not have land lines? It's quite possible that Thompson's support is stronger than it appears so far in the public polls - something Thompson himself seemed to suggest last night after being asked about the Marist poll.
So there's lots to chew over after the Marist poll, and while the poll is undoubtedly good news for Anthony Weiner and bad news for Christine Quinn, it may not be the worst news Bill Thompson has ever heard.
Let the scrutiny of Weiner really begin now and let's see where we stand in a month.