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Weiner, weighing New York mayoral bid, faces skeptical voters

File photo of Anthony Weiner announcing that he will resign from the United States House of Representatives during a news conference in Broo
File photo of Anthony Weiner announcing that he will resign from the United States House of Representatives during a news conference in Broo

By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Democrat Anthony Weiner, who resigned from Congress in disgrace two years ago, is weighing a bid for New York mayor, but a poll released on Tuesday suggests his political comeback would be an uphill battle.

Only 40 percent of city voters say they would consider voting for him, while 52 percent said they would not, according to the NBC New York-Marist poll.

Among Democrats, his chances were slightly higher, with 46 percent saying they were open to a Weiner candidacy and 50 percent opposed to the idea.

Weiner's standing with the public has improved in the two years since he admitted to sending lewd messages to women and resigned from his seat in the House representing parts of Queens and Brooklyn.

He had been considered a front-runner to be the city's next mayor but when he resigned just a quarter of voters polled thought he should run for mayor.

The new poll found City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who would be the city's first female and lesbian mayor, leads the field with the support of a quarter of registered Democrats.

Weiner would place second with 15 percent, it found, followed by City Comptroller John Liu with 12 percent, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio with 11 percent and former city comptroller Bill Thompson, also with 11 percent.

"Right now, a Weiner candidacy attracts double-digit support in the Democratic primary," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. "He makes it even more difficult for any of the Democratic contenders to reach the needed 40 percent to avoid a runoff."

Weiner has kept a low profile since leaving office but burst back onto the political scene in recent days when The New York Times Magazine published a lengthy article about Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, an aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Over the weekend, Weiner published a booklet of policy ideas, including the creation of a single-payer healthcare system for uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers, using GPS technology to track sex offenders and expanding ferry service.

He also has promised more media access in coming days.

The poll of 1,127 New York City adults was conducted by telephone from April 11 through April 15. The margin of error among registered voters was plus or minus 3.3 percentage points, and the margin of error among Democrats was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Phil Berlowitz)

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