Election 2013, Volume 2, Issue 5: Star Tribune Poll!
So this morning's paper had a mayoral race poll and HOLY CRAP is this ever a wide open race. Their interviews suggest that (a) a lot of people aren't really paying attention yet, and (b) the ones who are paying attention are so utterly overwhelmed by the number of candidates that they're not sure what they think.
Here's the article, the poll, and more about the poll (they were getting punchy at this point; they have Betsy Hodges' name spelled "Besty.")
The newspaper ran a slightly different set of charts in print. They have the demographic breakdown of first-choice votes (with less info than they have online -- online you can scroll to the right for ALL THE DEMOGRAPHICS). In the newspaper, they have that chart ordered logically by first-choice votes; online, for some reason, they have the top two listed first and then it gets sort of random (unless there's some actual reason why Stephanie Woodruff was listed third). The paper also gives you the favorable/unfavorable/neutral/never heard of them rankings of the various candidates (they don't seem to have this online) and their breakdown of first/second/third choice votes is a lot more readable in the print edition than the online, I think.
I'll put in an LJ-cut for the 5 people who are still reading this through an LJ f-list and then give you some data and some analysis.
I'm going to give you the list of candidates in order of first-choice rankings, with the percentage putting them first.
1. Dan Cohen & Don Samuels (tied), 16%
3. Betsy Hodges, 14%
4. Mark Andrew, 10%
5. Cam Winton, 9%
6. Jackie Cherryhomes, 7%
7. Stephanie Woodruff, 5%
8. Bob Fine, 1%
9. Some other candidate, 6%
10. Not sure / no choice 16%
The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points so arguably, Dan, Don, and Betsy are all tied for first; Mark and Cam are tied for second; Jackie and Stephanie are tied for third; and Bob Fine isn't actually running. (This makes me wish they'd included all 35 candidates because I'm curious whether Bob Fine was actually outpolled by Jack Sparrow. 1% is pretty damn pathetic.)
Now, obviously, with ranked-choice voting it matters A LOT whether people also listed you as their #2 or #3 choice. I don't want to type in the entire chart from the Star Trib (sorry) but I will note that Dan Cohen gets 13% of second choice votes and 11% of thirds; Don Samuels gets 14% of second choice votes and 9% of thirds. The Star Trib consistently puts Dan Cohen ahead of Don Samuels in their lists, and I'm not sure if it's because actually Dan got 16.4% and Don got 16.1% or if they're listing them alphabetically or if white guys go to the front of the line by default (Dear Strib: no, I'm sure you didn't say, "let's put Dan first, because he's white," but maybe you could explain somewhere how you ordered stuff? For that matter, how did you pick the order for the favorable/unfavorable chart, which ALSO puts Dan Cohen first and Don Samuels second but then has Stephanie Woodruff third even though hardly anyone had even heard of her?)
Anyway. Betsy Hodges and Mark Andrew get a pretty similar percentages of second/third choice votes. Cam Winton gets 9% of first choice and then 10% of second choice, which is an eye-catching bump just because Mark and Betsy got 7 and 8 % of second-choice votes and Cam hit two digits. Finally, it's worth noting that 16% of respondents refused to pick a first choice, 24% didn't pick a second choice, and 32% didn't pick a third choice.
They note that Dan Cohen has been spending piles of money (which he got from a successful lawsuit against the Star Tribune, hilariously enough) running ads. He has raised almost nothing. The ads have emphasized his opposition to the Vikings Stadium deal, and the article quotes him as saying that it's the "issue that haunts this campaign" (and yes. It is.)
The favorable/unfavorable listing is interesting but in some ways misleading. Though Jackie Cherryhomes has the highest unfavorable ranking (28%) she also has one of the higher favorable rankings (25%) and one of the lowest "don't recognize" rankings (25%). In a race like this, in some ways the number of people who even recognize your name is going to help to put you into contention. So ranked in reverse-order of "don't recognize," here are the candidates:
Betsy Hodges & Jackie Cherryhomes (tie) 25%
Don Samuels 27%
Mark Andrew 28%
Cam Winton 34%
Bob Fine 38%
Dan Cohen 39%
Stephanie Woodruff 42%
On the other hand, if we rate them by people who have a favorable impression, it goes:
Mark Andrew 30%
Don Samuels 28%
Betsy Hodges & Jackie Cherryhomes (tie) 25%
Cam Winton 15%
Stephanie Woodruff 13%
Dan Cohen 12%
Bob Fine 11%
Since a lot of people are going to get into the election booth and mark down whoever they have the most favorable impression of that they've even heard of, I'd say this suggests that Mark, Don, Betsy and Jackie are the actual front-runners.
You know, the bottom line is that this poll is not all that useful except for Bob Fine and Stephanie Woodruff supporters, who probably ought to just throw in the towel.
OK, that's not entirely fair. Other things the candidates can glean:
1. Cam Winton's supporters need to work a lot harder to make sure sure the Republicans in town know who to vote for. (Currently, he's significantly outpolled among self-identified Republicans by both Don Samuels and Mark Andrew. MARK ANDREW.) The self-identified conservatives support Dan Cohen and JACKIE CHERRYHOMES.
2. Liberals, on the other hand, do seem to have gotten the message that Mark Andrew is not their guy. Betsy Hodges and Don Samuels are leading there.
3. Hilariously, the people who answered the ideology question with "not sure" (as opposed to liberal, moderate, or conservative) showed a marked preference for Dan Cohen (27%), Mark Andrew (24%), and Undecided (30%).
4. Elise may have been dead on when she said that Dan Cohen bringing up his loss to Stenvig would send a message to black voters. Black voters seem to have the clearest-cut opinions on the race: they want Don Samuels, Dan Cohen, or Betsy Hodges, in that order.
5. Union members went heavily for Samuels, with 28%. There wasn't a clear second-place Union favorite; Cam Winton and Mark Andrew both got 14%. Given that Cam Winton is mildly anti-union (he's gone after the teacher's union, at least a little) I find this sort of funny.
6. Evangelical Christians heavily favored Dan Cohen. I immediately leaped to the conclusion that they are going for him because he's OBVIOUSLY ONE OF THE LORD'S CHOSEN PEOPLE, JUST LOOK AT HIS NAME!!!! but in fact this could just be that the Evangelical Christians in town are heavily black and Dan Cohen is also very popular among black voters (after Don Samuels). (The overly touchy-feely interest in Jewish people seems to be waaaaay more of a thing among white Evangelicals than black ones. At least, I have never yet had a black person look soulfully into my eyes and tell me that they really LOVE the Jewish people.)
Given these polling results, I'm going to predict two things. (1) Turnout will be down significantly from 2001, the last time there was a competitive mayoral race. (2) The winner will totally have a plurality, not a majority, when all the ballots are counted.
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