In Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, experts disagree on political impact

Not one to shy away from cameras or

Not one to shy away from cameras or microphones, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner takes reporters' questions during a news conference at the Gay Men's Health Crisis headquarters in Manhattan. (July 23, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Anthony Weiner will have a difficult time holding on to supporters after his latest round of sexting revelations, political and crisis management experts said Wednesday, but they disagreed on whether it will be politically fatal.

"People were willing to give him a second chance, but we don't know if they're willing to give him a third," Marist pollster Lee Miringoff said.

In his run for mayor and bid for political redemption, Weiner has found himself hovering at or near the top of the polls and enjoying a fundraising boom. But it won't last, said political consultant Bob Shrum. "We're going to see what support he has . . . cut rather substantially in a tidal wave in the last 24 hours," he said. "I think a lot of donors will just walk away or say, 'We've done our part,' and I think voters are going to be very uncomfortable with the idea of him being mayor."

The latest sexts raised the level of deceit associated with Weiner, Shrum said. Weiner was, after all, in the midst of the X-rated cyber-relationship as he posed with his wife and son as a family on the mend in a July 2012 issue of People magazine, Shrum said.

Former President Bill Clinton salvaged his reputation after a sex scandal, but Weiner is no Clinton, said Montieth Illingworth, founder of crisis management firm Montieth & Co.

"He doesn't have as many friends as Bill Clinton, and I don't think he's as smart as Bill Clinton," he said.

But with the primary election seven weeks away, Mark Kaminsky, partner at SS+K marketing and communications company, said voters may forgive Weiner yet.

"If common sense ruled, he would be finished -- I don't think there's any question about that," Kaminsky said. "But since it doesn't, it becomes a statement of disenchantment with the other candidates . . . He can become a more effective protest candidate."

Christina Greer, assistant professor of political science at Fordham University, said New Yorkers almost expect scandal of their elected officials.

"He might take a dip [in the polls], but we're not new to the rodeo when it comes to sex scandals," she said. "Now, for better or for worse, we pretty much assume you do dirt, and you also possibly do a really good job at work."

With Tim Herrera

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