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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Numbers and The Crunching: Weiner For Mayor - Scrambled Eggs Or Long Shot

Errol Louis, political anchor at NY1 News and host of Road to City Hall, claims a Weiner entry changes all the odds in the race for mayor. "Don’t let them fool you. Weiner would make the road to victory tougher for every other candidate, Democrat or Republican," writes Louis in the NY Daily News. 

He would hurt Ms. Quinn and Mr. de Blasio among moderate-to-conservative outer-borough Democrats — the same voters who made up Weiner’s base as a councilman and congressman. As a darling of the left, Mr. Weiner would surely attract some of the liberals de Blasio and Liu have been courting. 

Even Thompson might find his political life complicated by a Weiner candidacy, according to Louis.  Weiner has a few political chips in the black community to cash in, like his support for Brooklyn Rep. Yvette Clarke in her first, tight 2006 race for Congress, and that could create difficulty for Thompson, whose path to victory requires heavy, unified black support. And Thompson, who has built intriguing, longstanding ties to conservative Orthodox Jewish leaders, would suddenly find himself at odds with a man whose old district included parts of Brooklyn’s Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, where he would be a known quantity (and the only Jewish candidate in the race).

On the other hand, Nate Silver crunches the numbers of the latest Marist Poll to assess Weiner's candidacy. His conclusion: It's a long shot for Weiner.

Silver, who got a gold medal from predicting the 2012 presidential elections in advance, breaks up the prospective voters’ views of each candidate into four categories.

First (the dark green) are the Democrats who list the candidates as their first choice. Mr. Weiner ranks second behind Ms. Quinn, and just ahead of John C. Liu, Bill de Blasio and Bill  Thompson.

Next  (in light green) are the Democrats who recognize the candidate and view him favorably, but do not have him as their first choice - "These voters represent the easiest opportunity for each candidate to pick up additional support." Mr. Weiner is viewed favorably by 45 percent of Democrats overall  and 15 percent have him as their first choice, meaning that  additional 30 percent have a favorable view of him but are not supporting him yet.

The opposite (in red) is Democrats who already take an unfavorable view of a candidate. This is the most problematic category for Mr. Weiner, because 41 percent of Democrats view him unfavorably, far more than for any of the other candidates. In general, it is extremely difficult for a candidate to flip voters into being supporters once they have already established a negative view of him. Thus, the more Democrats fall into this category, the harder it will be for a candidate to add support.

Finally (in grey) are the Democrats who do not yet recognize the candidate. Right now, Mr. Weiner is the most familiar of the candidates with 85%  name recognition.

Here, Nate Silver, with help of his successful analysis of  the 2012 presidential primary polls, adjusted early polls for name recognition, that in his view generally yield more useful predictions than taking the numbers at face value. In the chart below, by excluding the poll respondents who did not yet recognize the candidates and reallocating the others among the remaining three categories, Fivethirtyeight found Ms. Quinn as the front-runner with 32 percent of Democrats who recognize her name have her as their first choice. But then there's a four-way tie for  second  place — with Mr. Liu, Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Thompson each gaining ground on Mr. Weiner, tieing Mr. Weiner with 17-18 percent respectfully 

Therefore, concludes Nate Silver, of these four candidates, Mr. Weiner has the least room to grow, because nearly half of voters who already recognize his name view him unfavorably. Whereas, Mr. de Blasio and Mr. Thompson have more upside potential, just as Ms. Quinn could extend her lead on the way. 


  1. The charts speak for themselves. Unfavorables out number favorables in every candidate except Quinn and then she only squeaks by. What are Democrats going to do? Hold their noses and vote? I am admittedly a Joe Lhota fan and strongly feel he can garner enough votes to win this horse race.

  2. It looks like Quinn will win among the Democrats but I wouldn't count Weiner out. More young voters come out every year and they're far less concerned about things like sexting than this poll might show. Having said that . . . if Lhota stays on both the republican and libertarian ticket, he will win.