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Weiner gaining in New York mayor’s race

Anthony Weiner is gaining in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor, according to a new poll from Marist College.

The poll shows City Council Speaker Christine Quinn continues to lead, at 24 points, with Weiner slightly behind at 19 percent. That five-point gap is down from 11 in April, when Weiner's potential candidacy first made news. At that point, Quinn led 26 percent to 15 percent.

In the new poll, the remainder of the Democratic field lags behind Quinn and Weiner, with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio at 12 percent, 2009 nominee Bill Thompson at 11 percent and Comptroller John Liu at 8 percent.

Of course, the name of the game in the Democratic primary is getting to 40 percent -- something that seems increasingly difficult for anybody to reach in such a wide field. If no candidate accomplishes that, the top two candidates go to a runoff.

If Quinn and Weiner went to that runoff, Quinn would start with a 48 percent-to-33 percent lead -- a strong indication that non-Weiner voters in the primary would likely gravitate toward Quinn in a runoff.

For Weiner, it seems, the best -- and maybe only -- path to victory is getting 40 percent in the primary. Getting a majority of the vote in a two-candidate runoff would be tough given his liabilities.

Democrats, though, are willing to hear Weiner out, with 59 percent saying he deserves a second chance. Last month, 40 percent of Democrats said they wanted Weiner to run, while 46 percent didn't.

Weiner's favorable rating in the new poll is virtually unchanged, with 44 percent of Democrats liking him and 44 percent not liking him. That compares to a 60/26 split for Quinn.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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