(CNN) – Eliot Spitzer is ahead in his race for New York City's top financial post, two polls released Thursday showed, though his advantage differed wildly in the two surveys.
A Quinnipiac University survey showed Spitzer edging out Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, his main rival for the Democratic comptroller nomination, by a four point margin among likely Democratic primary voters. Spitzer stood at 49% while Stringer was at 45%.
But a second poll from NBC4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist among Democrats likely to vote in the September primary indicated a much larger 12-point gap between the two candidates. That survey showed Spitzer at 48% and Stringer at 36%.
"Among Democratic primary likely voters, who are assumed to be more informed, former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer are in a real race" said Maurice Carroll, the director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Women voters, Carroll noted, were divided between the two candidates, despite loud criticism of Spitzer from some women's groups.
Spitzer served as New York governor until 2008, when he resigned after admitting to having sex with prostitutes.
Speaking on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live" Wednesday, Stringer claimed name recognition was largely responsible for Spitzer's lead in polls.
"You know what happens? The person with those liabilities starts out ahead because of name recognition. At the end of the day, voters realize what is happening and vote for the candidate they believe will represent them. That candidate gets elected," Stringer said.
Spitzer's campaign, responding to Thursday's polls, said they were "pleased" with their position in the campaign.
The Quinnipiac poll was conducted by telephone July 18-23 from 507 likely Democratic primary voters, and had a sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
The NBC4/Wall Street Journal/Marist survey was taken by telephone over a single day, July 24, from 1,199 adults in New York City, including 551 registered Democrats. For the Democrats, the sampling error was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.