The acid test in politics is likability. In the New York primary Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner failed it. Power from other sources such as sheer wealth might dominate in other games but not when the voters are in charge.
In essence, likability is accessibility. Those doing the voting feel they know you and what they know they want more of. That's the platform for favorable receptions at speeches and positive media coverage.
Can a politico who isn't likable plug into the juice of public good feeling about them? Sure. John F. Kennedy went from being a self-absorbed indifferent rich kid to the people's president. For that to happen, he and his team did everything right. That ranged from understanding that Americans were ready to exit the Eisenhower era to their risk at showcasing a sophisticated wife.
Can Spitzer and Weiner acquire likability down the road? Of course. Image restoration has infinite possibilities. But that requires the willingness to size up reality and to change.