Well that didn't take long.

A new poll of the New York City comptroller's race shows Eliot Spitzer begins his just-launched Democratic primary campaign with a lead over Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

The Marist College poll shows the former governor leading 42 percent to 33 percent among registered voters. Another 24 percent are undecided. Among likely voters, Spitzer's lead is 44 percent to 36 percent.

Despite his prostitution scandal, Spitzer still has a positive image among New York City Democrats, with 46 percent viewing him favorably and 35 percent viewing him unfavorably. Two-thirds -- 67 percent -- say he deserves a second chances, while just 25 percent say he doesn't have the character to be comptroller.

The poll shows Spitzer's image has improved with the passage of time.

Stringer is less well-known, which is likely part of the reason he trails early. His favorable rating is 40 percent, with 17 percent unfavorable. Stringer has the backing of most major New York mayoral candidates.

In the mayor's race, former congressman Anthony Weiner's name recognition has also allowed him to poll high early. The question is whether Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Spitzer can maintain their positions as other candidates become more well-known to voters -- and as their personal foibles are re-litigated.