mayorforum.jpg
Kevin P. Casey
Tracking these guys is getting tricky.
The deadline for mailing in your primary ballot is a week away and at this point

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The Pols Are Polling, But What Is It Showing?

mayorforum.jpg
Kevin P. Casey
Tracking these guys is getting tricky.
The deadline for mailing in your primary ballot is a week away and at this point the conclusion from lobbyist/polster Martin "Jamie" Durkan is that the outcome is still anyone's guess. Not that that's stopped anyone, including us, from attempting to draw conclusions from the often wildly divergent numbers that pop up week to week. Durkan says the only thing that seems certain so far is that "this is one of the most unusual elections that I've seen in my 30-years of doing this. Primarily because it's early and it's mail in."

Durkan is tracking the King County Executive's race. He has staff calling 200 homes a night every night from which they create a rolling poll. Last week, Survey USA released a poll showing Larry Phillips had dropped to fifth with 6 percent of the vote. The Survey USA poll was released Aug. 4. But when Durkan tallied up his numbers on Aug. 7, he found Phillips at 7.5 percent, which according to his results was good enough for third place.

Not only that, he says, but Phillips did especially well among women over 50 who are also generally considered the most likely to vote. (Note Jim Brunner's post over at the Seattle Times.)

And the numbers change fast. Susan Hutchison is considered the presumptive Republican finalist and likely highest vote-getter in the Executive's race. But Durkan says that over the last two days of polling, her numbers have slipped by about four points while the number of undecided voters has gone up by about three points. He attributes this to embarrassing anecdotes after a judge unsealed records from her lawsuit against KIRO last week.

Meanwhile, over in the mayor's race, the numbers have also been bouncing around. A Survey USA poll released July 16 showed candidates Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan trailing the more highly-recognizable hopefuls: city councilmember Jan Drago and former Sonic James Donaldson.

But then Mallahan released a commercial on network television during the heat wave and Mike McGinn went full-tilt on the tunnel attacks. Last weekend, I answered a call from a robo poll by the McGinn campaign saying the tunnel plan supported by Nickels would result in higher taxes, then asking who I planned to vote for. And for the last two days the two campaigns have been throwing out competing press releases, including one where McGinn sounds a bit like he's asking for an actual fight.

And as of last week, Survey USA is finding Mallahan and McGinn surging ahead, getting within the margin of error with Greg Nickels, who until now was considered the obvious front-runner.

Durkan isn't tracking the mayoral polls, but isn't surprised by the way in which the numbers have danced around. The biggest unknown, he says, is whether or not the undecideds will actually cast a ballot. There's only a week left to mail it in.

 
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