April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Anthony Weiner, the former U.S. congressman who resigned in 2011 after engaging in lewd online behavior, is running second among Democratic candidates for mayor of New York even though he hasn’t entered the race, a Marist College poll showed.
Weiner, 48, trailed City Council Speaker Christine Quinn by 26 percent to 15 percent, in a telephone survey of Democratic voters conducted from April 11 to April 15. He said in a New York Times magazine profile last week that he may re-enter politics and join the race to replace Michael Bloomberg,
If Weiner enters, it would almost guarantee a Sept. 10 primary in which the top vote-getter fails to win 40 percent, said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York. That would force a runoff with the second-place finisher.
“The numbers show it’s a wide-open contest with no candidate closing the sale,” Miringoff said in an interview. “Weiner may have risen toward the top, but he faces huge obstacles.”
Other Democratic candidates include Comptroller John Liu, who came in third with 12 percent; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, 11 percent; former Comptroller William Thompson, 11 percent; and former City Councilman Sal Albanese, 2 percent. Twenty-two percent of Democrats said they were undecided. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 6-to-1 in New York City.
Half of Democrats surveyed say they wouldn’t consider voting for Weiner, “so while some numbers make him appear viable, he’s got a long way to go to establish credibility,” Miringoff said.
The poll had a 4.2 percentage-point margin of error among 556 Democrats interviewed, the institute stated.
Weiner’s resignation came after he admitted that he engaged in “inappropriate conversations” with six women over the previous three years, including on Facebook, e-mail, Twitter and on the phone with one of them.
He had publicly denied sending a racy photograph of himself to a Seattle woman via Twitter, and said his account was hacked. The photo showed a man from the waist down in gray underwear.
He retains $4.3 million in campaign funds from an aborted 2009 run for the Democratic mayoral nomination, according to the city Campaign Finance Board.
Under city law, a candidate needs $250,000 in donations of $175 or less to qualify for 6-to-1 matching funds. Weiner, who has $248,710 in such claims, needs just $1,290 in contributions to qualify for about $1.5 million in public funds, said Eric Friedman, spokesman for the city Campaign Finance Board.
His deadline to be eligible for matching funds requires him to run for local office this year, Friedman said.
Bloomberg, who is barred by law from seeking a fourth term, is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.
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