Weiner rises to the top of new poll, beats Quinn

Anthony Weiner smiles while courting voters outside a

Anthony Weiner smiles while courting voters outside a Harlem subway station. (Getty) (Credit: Anthony Weiner smiles while courting voters outside a Harlem subway station. (Getty))

Two years after he left his congressional office in disgrace following a lewd picture scandal, Anthony Weiner now has the lead among Democrats vying to be mayor, according to a poll released last night by The Wall Street Journal, WNBC/4 and Marist College.

Weiner had a 25% approval rating among registered Democrats, five points higher than City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has been the front-runner for months.

Christina Greer, an assistant professor of political science at Fordham University, said that when Weiner threw down the gauntlet last month, it clearly set back the speaker's campaign.

"Quinn is losing momentum and Weiner is presenting himself as the Democrat closest to the center, and has been chipping away at Quinn's outer-borough voters," she said.

Quinn had greater numbers among Manhattan residents, with 27% versus Weiner's 23%. Among white voters, Quinn leads Weiner 25% to 19%.

Weiner -- who resigned in 2011 after admitting he sent racy pictures of himself to numerous women -- surprisingly was more popular with female voters than Quinn, holding a 22% to 21% edge.

Basil Smikle, a political consultant from Harlem, said Weiner's gift for glad-handing and mixing it up with voters makes him seem more sincere in his positions.

"When you look too scripted and choreographed, sometimes what seeps in is a modicum of distrust," he said.

Weiner's spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the survey "won't change our focus one bit."

"Anthony is going to keep talking about the issues and how to stand up for New Yorkers who want a middle-class fighter in City Hall," she said in a statement.

Quinn's campaign spokesman Mike Morey said the speaker expects the poll numbers to fluctuate throughout the campaign.

"We are confident that on Election Day, when voters have to decide who they want to lead this city, they will choose someone who has demonstrated the ability to lead and deliver," he said in a statement.

Former City Comptroller Bill Thompson came in third among Democrats with 13%, followed by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio with 10% and City Comptroller John Liu with 8%.

On the Republican side, former MTA chief Joe Lhota was tops with 28%, seven points higher than Gristedes owner John Catsimatidis.

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