New Poll: Nickels vs. Seven Dwarves (Four of Whom Have a Chance)

It's poll results time! In the latest set, brought to you by the UW's Washington Poll, Greg Nickels is comfortably in the lead with 23% of the vote, and his nearest four challengers are uncomfortably bunched together. Joe Mallahan--whose campaign is profiled by Laura Onstot in this week's issue--is in second place with 11%, followed by James Donaldson at 10%, and Jan Drago and Mike McGinn tied with 9%. (Elizabeth Campbell, Norman Sigler, and Kwame Garrett all polled at less than 1%.) All of those differences are within the margin of error, of course, so the four runners-up are essentially tied.

Assuming these numbers are roughly accurate, who gets to face Nickels in the general will depend largely on turnout. UW Political Science professor Matt Barretto, who helped design the poll, said that there's some evidence from Oregon showing that all-mail elections tend to exacerbate the demographic gaps in voting--i.e. the elderly, affluent, and well-informed tend to vote more, while the younger, lower-income, and newer voters tend to vote less.

The likelihood of turnout, if not necessarily its correspondence to demographic categories, helps explain the bizarre breakdown of regions in the poll. Queen Anne/Magnolia is its own region, while Beacon Hill, Rainier Beach, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, Mount Baker, and other neighborhoods are all grouped as South Seattle. The pollsters wanted each region to have a roughly equal number of voters.

If older folks are the ones who turn out, that could help Drago and Mallahan. Of the challengers, they polled best in the 50-59 and 60+ age range. (Drago got 12% and 10% in those categories, respectively; Mallahan 11% and 17%).

The poll also took a look at the bag fee, whose prospects aren't looking good. 55% of voters said they opposed, 41% were in favor, and 4% undecided. An interesting alliance has developed here--while young people and Democrats overwhelmingly support the measure, old people, Republicans, and people of color all overwhelmingly oppose it.

Finally, while Nickels' performance is disapproved more than it's approved and he's unfavorably viewed more than he's favorably viewed, 52% of those surveyed felt Seattle is "on the right track." And, good news for Mike McGinn because it shows he's picked a good issue, but bad news because he's not polling any better: the #1 issue cited by voters as being important to them is the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

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