4/14: A Political Comeback for Spitzer?

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s sock-clad sexcapades earned him a place in New York political infamy.  But, can he reform himself in the eyes of New York State voters and resurrect his political career?

Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department

Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department

Click Here for Complete April 14, 2010 NYS Poll Release and Tables

Nearly six in ten registered voters in New York State — 58% — do not want Spitzer to run for statewide office this year.  30%, however, do want him to re-enter the political scene for the upcoming New York State elections, and 12% are unsure.

New York State voters may not have short memories, but fewer members of the electorate, compared with those seven months ago, are now opposed to a Spitzer political comeback.  It’s not that many more voters have warmed up to the idea of “Candidate Spitzer.”  It’s that more are just unsure.  In Marist’s September 2009 survey, 69% did not want Spitzer to run in 2010 compared with 27% who did, and 4% who were unsure.

“Eliot Spitzer’s political scars remain, although for some New Yorkers, they may have faded a bit,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Eventually, voters may go for the idea of Spitzer running for office but not yet.”

Although a majority of voters do not want the former governor to run for office this year, the electorate isn’t ruling out a political return for Spitzer in the future.  When asked if he should ever run for New York State office again, voters divide. 45% think he should hit the campaign trail again while 48% think his political career is over.  7% are unsure.

But, advocating a Spitzer comeback doesn’t necessarily mean voters like the former governor.  Only 28% of voters have a favorable impression of Spitzer compared with 50% who have an unfavorable view of him.  22% are unsure.

Table: Spitzer to Run for Statewide Office?
Table: Spitzer to Run for Future Statewide Office?
Table: Spitzer Favorability

Public vs. Private: The Spitzer Sex Scandal

If Eliot Spitzer runs for public office, should his previous sex scandal be a matter for public debate or left as a private issue?  Voters statewide divide. 49% think it should be a public matter while 48% say it should be a private one. 3% are unsure.

Table: Spitzer Sex Scandal Public or Private Matter

It’s a Blank Slate

If Spitzer were to make a bid for public office in New York State this year, voters are all over the map when it comes to which office he should seek.  22% say Spitzer should make a bid for New York State Comptroller.  21% think he should attempt to reclaim his gubernatorial post.  A fifth of voters would prefer to see him run for an office with which he is very familiar, New York State Attorney General, and 14% believe he should run for U.S. Senate in New York.  23% are unsure.

Table: Public Office for Which Spitzer Should Run

NYC Voters to Spitzer, “Don’t Spoil the Big Apple”

Nearly two-thirds of voters in New York City — 66% — do not want Spitzer to enter New York City politics and run for mayor in 2013.  24%, however, think a bid for mayor would be a good idea.  10% are unsure.

Table: Spitzer/NYC Mayoralty Bid

Marist Poll Methodology