Anthony Weiner’s increasing irrelevance

July 26, 2013

Anthony Weiner began this week, somewhat remarkably, as a serious candidate to be the next mayor of New York City. He ends it struggling for relevance in a race that is passing him by as he continues to battle his own self-inflicted wounds.


Anthony Weiner and his wife, Huma Abedin.

Weiner's ever-changing story regarding the number of women with whom -- and when -- he exchanged lewd online communiques has turned what looked like a story of political redemption into a story of political hubris. Put slightly differently: We Americans love second acts in public life. But no one really likes a really long first act with a remarkably predictable plot. And that's what Weiner turned into this week.

A WNBC/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday tells the story.  Sure, Weiner took 16 percent among registered Democrats -- good for second place behind New York City Council President Chris Quinn. But, scratch the surface of the poll, which was conducted after Weiner publicly admitted his (latest) transgressions Tuesday, and his rapidly approaching irrelevance in the race is clear.

Here's all the evidence you need -- in the form a single chart that tracks Weiner's favorable numbers among New York City Democrats over time.


Image courtesy of Marist

In the space of a single month, Weiner's favorable ratings went from 52 percent to 30 percent even as his place in the ballot test dropped from 25 percent in June to 16 percent today. That's not the polling arc of a winning candidate -- or even close to it. And, given the week that Weiner has had, it's virtually impossible to imagine that his numbers won't continue to weaken.

Make no mistake: Anthony Weiner will continue to draw headlines in the six weeks or so between now and the New York City mayoral primary. But, don't confuse that press coverage with anything like real relevance for Weiner in the race.

Call it a circus. Call it a sideshow. But don't call it a comeback.  This week ensured that Weiner won't be making one.

Fixbits:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) went hard after libertarians.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D) raised cash in D.C.

President Obama invited Cabinet members to Camp David.

The Federal Election Commission ruled that gay married couples have the same rights as straight spouses.

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) will kick off her Senate campaign next week.

Republicans are arguing over Obamacare tactics.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had tough words for Weiner and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D).

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sounds convinced Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) will win the Senate special election in New Jersey.

Must-reads:

"White House hardens stance on budget cuts ahead of showdown with Republicans" -- Zachary A. Goldfarb and Paul Kane, Washington Post

"Homeland security deputy nominee says he didn’t give Terry McAuliffe special treatment" -- Ben Pershing and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post

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Sean Sullivan · July 25, 2013