Eliot Spitzer loses advantage in bid for political comeback: poll

Holly Bailey
National Correspondent
Eliot Spitzer loses advantage in bid for political comeback: poll

NEW YORK — Eliot Spitzer’s commanding lead in the race for city comptroller has vanished, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University survey released on Thursday found the former New York governor tied with rival Scott Stringer, 46 percent to 46 percent, less than two weeks before the Sept. 10 Democratic primary.

That’s a major shift from only two weeks ago, when Spitzer led Stringer by 19 points, 56 percent to 37 percent.

Stringer, who serves as Manhattan borough president, appears to be getting a bump in name recognition against the once-better-known Spitzer. In the past two weeks, Stringer has received the endorsement from all three daily newspapers in the city — along with key local endorsements, including from former Gov. David Paterson, who succeeded Spitzer in office.

Stringer had been running unopposed when Spitzer jumped into the race at the last minute in July as part of a quest for political redemption five years after he resigned from the governor’s office after admitting to dalliances with prostitutes.

Stringer has made that scandal a primary issue in his campaign, arguing that Spitzer cannot be trusted. But according to the Quinnipiac survey, it does not appear to be hurting Spitzer with female voters. The poll found 48 percent of likely female voters in the primary are backing Stringer, compared to 45 percent for Spitzer — results that are well within the poll’s plus or minus 4 percent margin of error.

But Spitzer does appear to be losing ground among black voters, who had been a key source of support for his campaign. Spitzer still leads Stringer among black voters — 52 percent to 40 percent. But that’s dramatically different from two weeks ago, when a Quinnipiac poll found Spitzer leading Stringer among black voters by 47 percentage points, 68 percent to 21 percent.