Mayor 2012: First independent polling

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Tonight, SurveyUSA and KATU released the first independent media poll in the race for Mayor of Portland. Previously, others have reported on internal polls from the Eileen Brady campaign and the Portland Business Alliance.

Interestingly, SurveyUSA/KATU asked respondents about two separate sets of candidates: 1) the announced candidates (Brady, Hales, Smith), and 2) those three, plus Chief Mike Reese, who is considering a run.

Among the three announced candidates, Eileen Brady is at 23%, Charlie Hales 19%, and Jefferson Smith 14%. A huge 44% of voters are undecided.

When voters are asked about Mike Reese as well, he leads with 20%, Brady is at 19%, Hales 13%, and Smith 11%. 38% of voters are undecided.

From SurveyUSA's analysis:

No one candidate should be labeled the "leader" based on these results, and no one candidate should be dismissed based on these results. Instead, the contest should be characterized as fluid, and hotly contested, with twice as many voters sitting on the sidelines as are yet committed to any one candidate. Re-positioning is likely as the undecided voters make-up their minds, and as Chief Reese decides to stay-out or jump-in.

  • Brady is strong among women, seniors, and affluent voters.
  • Smith is strong among males and Tea Party members.
  • Hales is strong among Republicans, conservatives, and the less educated.
  • Reese is strong among Republicans, conservatives, and the less educated, and when Reese is in the race, he siphons votes directly from Hales.

Here's a rundown of all previous polling:

2011-11-07SurveyUSA1913113820 - Reese
2011-10-30Brady for Mayor26161048
2011-10-02Portland Business Alliance151394222 - "Any other credible candidate" "one of the other candidates"

Update, February 28, 2012: Please see the clarifying note on this later post regarding the edit to the PBA polling results.

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    Full disclosure: My firm built Eileen Brady's campaign website. I speak only for myself.

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    Based on initial demographic appeal, as the candidates become more widely known, this race is going to Brady. IMO

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    Wait- Smith is strong among Tea Party members? What?

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      Kyle, that was the most bizarre thing in the poll. the Tea Party loves them some Jefferson Smith.

      not that any campaign would use that in an ad...

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    I agree with Kyle: Smith is popular with Tea Party?!?!? And, my question: there are enough Tea Party in PDX to have that register as a portion of the electorate? (If so, a black eye for PDX). And, another back eye (both eyes shut): Reese the chief cop jumps in because he doesn't like the way Adams is dealing with Occupy and, suddenly, he rockets to the top of the polls? Jeez, what's next, we vote on an amendment to declare a fertilized embryo to have full citizenship rights?

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      Actually, in an interview Reese said he was surprised that Adams hadn't gotten in - and that had Adams run, he'd have supported him.

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        That will work against him if he runs. Also very confusing if the reason he is running is that he doesn't like Adams stand on the Occupation.

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    Does anyone know if each candidate was described or had a title in any of the polls, especially the Survey USA poll before the question? Was this a vote for a police chief vs. a legislator vs. former city councilman vs. entrepreneur?

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      Even so, John, it's hard to see the anti-government Tea Party crowd choosing the legislator Jefferson Smith as their preferred candidate...

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        Well, his name is "Jefferson".

        I think it's fair to say that some voters may be making choices without fully understanding the candidates.

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        I will offer three possible reasons why Jefferson would poll stronger among the "Tea Party" crowd. 1) As was reported a few weeks ago, Jefferson actually broke with other Democratic legislators regarding certain privacy issues around gun ownership. While the candidates have very similar positions on many issues, Jefferson's willingness to stand up for better privacy protection (and winning the support of pro-gun groups over this) gains him some support from people who fall into the "Tea Party" category. 2) Many in the "Tea Party" crowd are realizing that the real culprit in many of the problems our country faces is the overwhelming influence of corporations over elected officials. While they hate big government, they also hate the unfairness of the influence of big corporations. Jefferson's message fits this concern, and turns populism back in the direction that many of us progressives would like to see. 3) I would speculate that a larger portion of those who fit the "Tea Party" category in the survey, also happen to live further east in the city of Portland. I would also speculate that if you divide poll results geographically, you will see stronger support for Jefferson in the eastern areas of the city. Thus, to a certain extent, the result that "Tea Party" supporters go towards Jefferson, may be a correlation of the geographic distribution of supporters.

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          Good analysis, Jim. I concur on all three points. Too many Dems overlook the possibility of snitching away votes from the other side based on privacy and gun rights (and as a member of the DPO's Gun Owner's Caucus, I've gotta agree).

          I think we overlook the possibilities of populist progressivism. Yeah, it can bite us in the butt, however, if we look at it carefully, we draw upon some strong Democratic Party historical roots.

          And the East Side piece is something which needs to be noticed. PDX has far too often been too much about the West Side elites, when really, our Democratic core is and should be out there in the East Side (and not just west of 39th, either!). W

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          Good thoughts, Jim.

          I may have been too dismissive of the Tea Party folks.

          While the recent reporting about Jefferson's strong gun rights positions didn't get much coverage, it may be just the sort of thing that would have penetrated deep into some small sectors of the electorate.

          (Though it's worth noting that we're talking about a very small slice of the survey sample - just 7% - so the margin of error may be huge.)

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      My understanding is that SurveyUSA provides zero context. The entire question read to respondents was:

      "If you were filling out your primary ballot for Mayor of Portland today, and the only 3 candidates on the ballot were Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith, who would you vote for?"

      Followed by:

      "OK, if you were filling out your ballot, and the only 4 candidates on the ballot were Eileen Brady, Charlie Hales, Jefferson Smith, and Mike Reese, who would you vote for?"

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      I was polled. They were not described. First it asked whether you were registered and asked you to rate your likelihood of voting in May. Set it up with "If the election for mayor of Portland were held today, and the three candidates were..." Then it was "For Eileen Brady, press 1," etc. then the process was repeated for four candidates. Then they gathered some demographic categories. That's it. Also, they must have been having trouble filling their sample of young, male voters; they asked to speak with the youngest male voter at home, then any male voter at home, then the youngest female voter at home, then they had to settle for me.

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    Also, why wasn't Max Bauske included in this poll?????

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    btw, the poll was conducted Nov 2-7. during which time the evening news was full of reports about Reese running for mayor. guess which of the 4 names many people hearing more than any of the others?

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