Weiner admits to more women, poll numbers fall
Shamed US politician Anthony Weiner admitted Thursday to having had at least three cyber affairs since his 2011 resignation from Congress, in a fresh blow to his crumbling bid to become New York mayor.
The new confession, forced out of the 48-year-old as he doggedly attempted to press on with his campaign, came as a poll indicated support for Weiner collapsing amongst registered Democrats.
The poll was the first to be carried out since Tuesday's revelation that Weiner had sent pictures of his penis to a young activist in 2012, a year after he quit Congress and just months after the birth of his son.
More crotch shots allegedly sent by Weiner under the online pseudonym Carlos Danger were published on Thursday by the site that broke the story, TheDirty.com.
The pressure on him was further increased by the woman he was sending the picture to, Sydney Leathers, breaking her silence.
The 23-year-old from Indiana gave an interview to syndicated tv show "Inside Edition" in which she said she had gone public about her cyber-liaison with Weiner because she had felt "manipulated" by him.
"Obviously I felt like he's saying one thing to me, another thing to his wife, saying another thing on the campaign trail. I don't know who the real Anthony Weiner is I guess."
Asked whether Weiner was trying to "pull one over" on the electorate, she replied: "Absolutely." "Otherwise he wouldn't have went on the whole 'I'm a changed man, I've learned my lesson, I wouldn't have said those things' if he wasn't trying to be someone he wasn't."
Weiner acknowledged on Tuesday that details of other virtual cavorting could emerge, and he has been hounded ever since to clarify exactly what that meant.
He finally caved in after 48 hours. "It's not dozens and dozens," he said, before adding: "I don't believe I had any more than three." He later said that the total including his time in the House of Representatives was between six and ten.
Weiner also confirmed to reporters that he was having treatment for his problems, although he denied that he was addicted to sex or to reckless behaviour.
A poll carried out by Marist College for NBC and the Wall Street journal found that Weiner's favorability rating among registered Democrats had fallen from 52 percent in June to 30 percent on Wednesday.
Until this week, Weiner had been the frontrunner in the race for the Democrat nomination but he has been taken over by Christine Quinn, the openly lesbian Speaker of the City Council.
The latest poll gave Quinn 25 percent support amongst Democrats, the same level Weiner had last month, against 16 percent for him.
Marist director Lee Miringoff said Weiner's mayoral campaign now looked seriously compromised. "His negatives are at an all-time high," he said.
But with almost one in five Democrats still undecided, Weiner is still in with a chance of making a runoff in the likely event of no single candidate winning 40 percent of votes cast in the primary scheduled for September.
Previous polls have suggested he would stand a good chance of beating Quinn in that scenario but the latest one indicates he has lost a lot of goodwill amongst voters.
The number of Democrats prepared to give him a second chance has dropped from 59 percent last month to 47 percent. Nearly one in two Democrats said he didn't have the character to be mayor (45 percent) and that the scandal mattered a lot to them (46 percent).
In contrast, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was forced to resign that post after being exposed as a serial user of prostitutes, is heading a parallel race to relaunch his career in public office as New York's financial controller.
Thursday's Marist poll gave him a 17-point lead over his nearest Democrat rival while another survey, by Quinnipiac University, showed him three points clear of Scott Stringer.
Weiner has been urged to quit the mayoral race by at least three of his rivals and all of New York's newspapers, who have accused him of making the city a laughing stock.
But he has given no indication yet that he will bow to the pressure. "I'm waging this campaign on a bet that citizens care more about their own future than my past with my wife," he said.
Weiner's initial fall from grace came when he accidentally tweeted a picture of himself in his underwear to all his followers rather than the young woman he was then courting online.