ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York voters, despite their tradition of rooting for comebacks and supporting eccentric candidates, appear to have had it with Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer and their sex scandals, according to a poll released Monday.
The Siena College poll found that 68 percent of state voters and 62 percent of New York City voters are embarrassed by the attention gotten by the men's candidacies, which have kept late-night TV hosts riffing for weeks.
"They are saying that these candidates and the national attention they are attracting is embarrassing," Siena pollster Steven Greenberg said in an interview. He said the sex scandals of both Spitzer and Weiner go well beyond the stories about the kind of brash and colorful candidates New York City voters have long embraced.
"We are talking about America's most infamous tweeter and America's most notorious john," Greenberg said. "Those are not the eccentricities of candidates that New York City voters usually embrace, like Ed Koch's, 'How am I doing?' and Rudy Giuliani as 'America's mayor.' These guys don't fall into those categories."
Sixteen percent of voters statewide say the attention Weiner and Spitzer is garnering is "no big deal." Just 8 percent find it entertaining.
Weiner is running for mayor and is dogged by a sexting scandal that drove him from Congress. Spitzer seeks a comeback as city comptroller. He resigned as governor in 2008 amid a prostitution scandal.
Eighty percent of state voters gave Weiner an unfavorable mark, including three-quarters of New York City voters, according to the poll. That 80 percent is the highest unfavorable rating the Siena College poll has registered. It's higher now than when Spitzer resigned as governor and higher than the worst marks for his successor, David Paterson, who nose-dived in the polls while issuing layoffs and cutting programs during a fiscal crisis.
Spitzer is viewed unfavorably by 59 percent of registered voters statewide, including most New York City Democrats. Spitzer hit a 79 percent unfavorable rating shortly after he resigned while he was embroiled in the prostitution scandal.
Each was seen as unfavorable across all geographic regions, gender and religious lines, among all income groups, and across political views from liberal to conservative. Spitzer had the only favorable ratings in any groups, being seen favorably by 56 percent of black voters and 47 percent of Latinos.
The telephone poll questioned 814 registered voters in the state Aug. 4-7. It has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. The margin of error for results involving only the 308 city voters was plus or minus 5.6 percentage points.