Poll shows Weiner may survive online misbehavior

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., addresses a news conference in New York, Monday, June 6, 2011. After days of denials, a choked-up New York Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner confessed Monday that he tweeted a bulging-underpants photo of himself to a young woman and admitted to "inappropriate" exchanges with six women before and after getting married. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

June 10, 2011 6:48:51 AM PDT
Anna Wisniewska may not like Rep. Anthony Weiner's raunchy online behavior, but she thinks he should keep his job.

"You cannot judge anyone," said Wisniewska, 35, who was born in Poland, but is now a U.S. citizen and lives in the congressman's district. "He did what he did and he apologized. It's only between him and his wife."

Weiner told a newspaper Thursday he would not resign, but instead would focus on getting work done and would "try to make amends" with his constituents and family. Now, there are indications in his home district that he may survive: A new NY1-Marist Poll showed the congressman continues to have strong backing from his constituents in the 9th congressional district.

It is a bit of positive news for the seven-term lawmaker from New York, who faces calls from his colleagues in both parties to leave office after he admitted sending sexually explicit photos and messages over the Internet to a half-dozen women over the past three years.

According to the poll, 56 percent of registered voters polled in Weiner's district think he should stay on the job. Thirty-three percent think he should go, while 12 percent are unsure.

The survey of 512 adults on June 8, which included 411 registered voters, had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent. It was performed by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Aides say Weiner was heartened by the polls showing no clamor for his resignation and is talking regularly with his wife, Huma Abedin, who is overseas with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The 46-year-old Democrat, who came and went from his Queens co-op on Thursday, planned to work out of his Queens office on Friday.

In private phone calls, Democrats have made clear to Weiner that staying would be tough on him and his wife of a year, who is pregnant with the couple's first child.

On Wednesday, Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., became the first of a half-dozen Democrats to say he should leave office. Meanwhile, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California has said in a statement that she's "disappointed" in Weiner and called for an ethics committee investigation.

There is also a chance, emphasized by Democrats this week, that he could be redistricted out of Congress when new political lines are drawn for 2012.

Douglas Sherman, 50, who lives in the Kew Gardens section of Queens that Weiner represents, was saddened by the lawmaker's misfortunes.

"I voted for him, I think he was a good representative. He fights for liberal causes. I think he's a strong voice for those issues," he said, adding that he had mixed feelings about whether Weiner had to go.

"It's really unfortunate that we would lose someone like this, with his talent in politics," Sherman said.

But in Brighton Beach, a seaside section of Brooklyn nicknamed "Little Odessa" for its large population of expatriate Ukrainian and Russian Jews, resident George Nogueras said Weiner "has got to go."

"He should resign if there are nude pictures of him floating around," said Nogueras, 52.

Nogueras said he is a registered Democrat and voted for Weiner in the last election, but at this point he said there is nothing the congressman could do to win his vote back.

Frank Alberti, 68, who goes to a senior center in the same building as Weiner's district office, said he liked the congressman. "He comes and visits us," Alberti said. "He keeps us informed. He's approachable."

He said the scandal surrounding Weiner would not necessarily influence his vote. "It's an embarrassment, but I vote for someone on his record," he said.


Associated Press writers Beth Fouhy, Carolyn Thompson in Amherst, N.Y., and Laurie Kellman and Kimberly Hefling in Washington contributed to this report.