The Washington Post

Did Huma Abedin’s appearance with Anthony Weiner matter? Maybe not.

Perhaps the most striking part of Anthony Weiner's news conference Tuesday was that he wasn't the only one who spoke. Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin, vouched for her husband in no uncertain terms, after he acknowledged that he engaged in sexually explicit online conversations even after resigning from Congress.

Turns out Abedin's support did virtually nothing to help or hurt Weiner's chances in the New York City mayor's race, according to one survey.

WNBC/Marist/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday shows that three of four New York City Democrats (73 percent) said Abedin's support makes no difference in how much they trust Weiner as a mayoral candidate. And nearly as many Democrats said her support makes it less likely (12 percent) they will trust him as said it makes them more likely (15 percent) to trust him as a candidate.

The poll does not measure who did or did not watch the news conference, which was widely covered in local and national media. And the survey was conducted over just one day (Wednesday), a less-than-ideal sampling period.

It's also possible that Abedin's appearance may function like an endorsement. People say they are not affected by them, but sometimes the effect is subconscious, or people don't want to admit it.

Time will tell what the ultimate effect is on Weiner's image. But the early data show that the most unexpected part of Weiner's news conference may also be the least consequential.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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