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. Equity

    Seattle Has 5 Big Pieces of Advice for Amazon’s HQ2 Winner

    Being HQ1 has been no picnic.

  2. Equity

    The Side Pittsburgh Doesn't Want You to See

    Pittsburgh filmmaker Chris Ivey has spent over twelve years documenting the lives of the people displaced so that the city can achieve its “cool” status.  

  3. Construction workers build affordable housing units.
    Equity

    Why Is 'Affordable' Housing So Expensive to Build?

    As costs keep rising, it’s becoming harder and harder for governments to subsidize projects like they’ve done in the past.

  4. The 560-foot-tall Juche Tower in Pyongyang, North Korea.
    Videos

    Seeing Pyongyang in 360 Degrees

    A photographer in a microlight aircraft shot 360-degree video over the secretive North Korean capital.

  5. Design

    The Problem With 'Fast-Casual Architecture'

    Washington, D.C., has a huge new waterfront development that’s fun, popular, and easy on the eyes. Is anything wrong with that?