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Poll: Spitzer And Stringer Locked In Dead Heat In Race For Comptroller

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A new poll shows a dramatic falloff in support for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's comeback campaign to become New York City comptroller. He's now tied with Democratic rival Scott Stringer.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Stringer and the scandal-scarred Spitzer at 46 percent each among likely Democratic primary voters.

According to the poll, those who describe themselves as "very liberal" back Stringer 60 percent to 35 percent; "somewhat liberal" Democrats back Spitzer, 51-40, and moderate or conservative Democrats back Spitzer 47 to 44, CBS 2's Marcia Kramer reported.

Stringer is delighted with the results, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.

"I've been out talking to people in our neighborhood. They want change. They want a comptroller who they feel they could trust, someone who gets it," said Stringer, who is Manhattan's borough president. "The bottom line is New Yorkers are looking for a comptroller with a proven record of honesty, integrity and putting the middle class first."

Poll: Spitzer And Stringer In Dead Heat In Comptroller Race

Spitzer tried to downplay his free-fall, telling Kramer, "The role of polls in politics is so vastly overrated, people like it when it's a horse race here and there. It's more than a cliche. The only poll I care about is on Election Day."

Nonetheless, Spitzer had a 56 to 37 percent lead in another Quinnipiac poll just 15 days ago. The latest results come less than two weeks before the primary.

"The entire political and media world has jumped on Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's bandwagon, helping him poll-vault from 19 points down to dead even in just two weeks," said poll director Maurice Carroll.

Stringer's dramatic surge to a dead heat could be credited to his vigorous advertising campaign and the endorsement of  New York's three daily newspapers and The Amsterdam News, Lamb reported.

Black support for Spitzer has diminished the last couple of weeks and the poll finds Stringer leads among self-described liberal voters and among the college-educated, Carroll said.

Kramer asked Iona College pundit Jeanne Zaino how Stringer can break the deadlock.

"He's got to have strong advertising and he's got to keep talking about the fact that he has major endorsements, major support that Spitzer cannot point to," Zaino said.

As for what Spitzer has to do to prevail, Zaino said, "Spitzer has to keep saying, 'Look it, I have the qualifications to do this job. I may have made this transgression, but that doesnt stop the fact that I will fight for you.'"

The latest poll surveyed 602 likely Democratic primary voters between Aug. 22 and Monday. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Spitzer resigned as governor in a 2008 prostitution scandal.

The primary is Sept. 10. The general election is in November.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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