Bill de Blasio Finds Himself an Indirect Beneficiary of the Weiner Scandal

Bill de Blasio.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Bill de Blasio. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Just weeks ago, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s campaign appeared to be treading water.

He was behind in the public polls. He had failed to unify labor. And the unlikely comeback candidacy of former Congressman Anthony Weiner—another outspoken, progressive with outer borough branding—seemed like the nail in the proverbial coffin, eliminating his path to victory.

But as it turns out, Mr. Weiner’s entry has turned into a blessing for Mr. de Blasio, at least as far as public polling is concerned. 

According to the latest Quinnipiac University poll out Monday, Mr. de Blasio is now neck-and-neck with former Comptroller Bill Thompson for second place behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, with 21 percent of the vote going to Mr. de Blasio—a huge bump from his 15 percent showing last week before the latest Weiner sexting scandal and the 14 percent he earned back in April before Mr. Weiner entered the race. (The latest polls are now including only likely voters instead of all registered Democrats, narrowing the tested electorate to more informed voters.)

It seems that many former Weiner voters, who’d been paying scant attention before Mr. Weiner’s entry, are now recoiling at revelations that he continued sexting long after resigning from Congress. And those disaffected voters are overwhelmingly turning to Mr. de Blasio.

The effect seems especially strong among male voters, where Mr. de Blasio managed to pick up 10 points in just a week, rising from 12 percent to 22 percent, as Mr. Weiner’s support dropped from 24 percent down to 13. At the same time Ms. Quinn and Mr. Thompson’s numbers remained relatively static, at 22 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

It was a similar case among white voters, where Mr. de Blasio jumped from 18 to 26 percent, as Mr. Weiner’s support with the demographic slumped. Mr. Thompson also made significant inroads, jumping from 15 percent to 24 percent.

But not all of Weiner’s supporters are breaking for Mr. de Blasio. Many of his former female backers appear to be flocking to Ms. Quinn, whose numbers among female voters jumped from 22 percent to 30 percent after the latest revelations. And black voters, who have traditionally been more willing than other groups to forgive, appear to be sticking with Mr. Weiner, with 24 percent choosing him over the other candidates, versus just seven percent of whites.

If Mr. Weiner stays in the race and somehow prevents Mr. Thompson, the lone African-American candidate, from consolidating minority voters, it’s possible the scandal-scarred pol could also help Mr. de Blasio secure just enough votes to edge into the runoff–or so he undoubtedly hopes.

Mr. de Blasio told Politicker Tuesday night that he’d personally spoken with a number of supporters over the past week who’d told him they’d jumped from the Weiner camp.

“It happens on the street. Over the last week, it’s happened a good number of times,” said Mr. de Blasio, speaking after a forum near Times Square.

“I think a lot of people had not paid close attention yet to this election. I think someone said today, ‘Maybe in some strange way, recent events have caused some greater focus.’ It’s an interesting theory,” he said. “But I think the bottom line is I think what’s really also causing focus is the clock is running. It’s, you know, it’s six weeks from today.” Bill de Blasio Finds Himself an Indirect Beneficiary of the Weiner Scandal