Reuters

A little disgrace never hurt anyone, especially in New York City, where the scandal-plagued comeback kids are beating their straitlaced opponents.

A little disgrace never hurt anyone, especially in New York City, where the scandal-plagued comeback kids in the civic elections are leading over their more straitlaced opponents. The latest numbers have Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer both sitting pretty--which is to say, they're on top.

In the latest Quinnipiac poll, former congressman Weiner is ahead of New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, his biggest competition, by 25 to 22 percent in the race for mayor. And former governor Eliot Spitzer is beating Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer by 48 percent to 33 percent in the race for city comptroller. The fallen golden boys don't look quite so tainted now. 

What Spitzer and Weiner have in common over their opponents is an early and aggressive marketing campaign via sex scandal. Being bad is good in New York, for better or for worse. People may know Weiner because of his sexually explicit-sexting scandal or Spitzer because of his dalliances with ladies of the night, but it's working for the two candidates. Other than those two, polled citizens were practically indifferent to every other choice. When pollsters were asked to pass a favorable or unfavorable opinion about the candidates, Weiner and Spitzer are the only two whose "haven't heard enough" scores came in under 20 percent. No one knows who the other guys are. 

If you don't believe us, look at the data. Below, we've plotted two things: the percentage of people who've heard of a candidate (blue line, calculated by subtracting those who "haven't heard enough" from 100 percent) and the percentage of support each candidate gets in his or her race. In fact, the race itself really doesn't matter, comptroller or mayor; there is a strong correlation between awareness and voter support either way.

Politics is derided as being a popularity contest. That's only partly right.

Top Image: Eric Thayer/Reuters.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic Wire.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Say Goodbye to Spain's Glorious Three-Hour Lunch Break

    Catalonia plans to shorten work hours—but don’t call it the end of the siesta.

  2. Environment

    Let's All Swim in the Once-Filthy Canals of Paris

    Unlike many cities, the French capital has made good on its promise to re-open urban waterways to bathers. How did they do it?  

  3. Uber drivers sit in their cars waiting for passengers.
    Equity

    What Uber Drivers Say About Uber

    Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and discovered a lot about the pitfalls of working in the rideshare business.

  4. Design

    What's Inside a Neighborhood in a Box?

    On the outskirts of New York City, a new housing model aimed at Millennials asks: What is city living?

  5. Transportation

    Honolulu's Rapid Transit Crisis

    Traffic in Hawaii’s capital is terrible, but construction on a rail system may now cost as much as $13 billion while alleviating road congestion by as little as one percent.