The poll finds Adrian Garcia and Sylvester Turner tied for the lead, with a second tier of closely-clustered candidates, including Chris Bell, Bill King and Stephen Costello. Digging deeper into the numbers yields more insight about those candidates with stronger name identification and favorable ratings, along with those candidates whom the voter would even consider supporting. Complete polling results may be found at www.har.com/poll.
Specifically, the Houston Association of Realtors commissioned a DC firm named American Strategies for this poll conducted over three days in the fourth week of September. It found Turner and Garcia tied with 19%, then Bell and King at 10%, then Costello at 9%, and then Ben Hall with 6%, Marty McVey 1%, and the rest at statistically nothing. "Undecided" actually won with 25%. In late June, it was Turner 16, Garcia 12, Bell 8, Hall and King 3, Costello 2, and poor McVey stuck at 1%. So everybody except McVey has moved a few undecideds into their column (that figure was 53% in the old survey). Charles has your deep dive; I'll add these impressions.
-- The Republicans in the race strengthened the most over the summer, but still don't appear to be a threat for the runoff. That is, if you don't consider Adrian Garcia a Republican, which I do. He is certainly the most conservative Democrat running, and he has significant conservative financial backing. Most importantly, he's not being scuffed by his terrible record as Harris County sheriff. Of all the data here, that's the point I most disbelieve. But hey, if I'm wrong and his incompetence doesn't catch up to him by Election Night, I'll own it.
-- Correspondingly, if it turns out to be Turner and Garcia in the runoff, that should be a pretty easy choice for us lefties in December. I'm still going to vote for the most progressive candidate in the general, and that's Bell.
-- Undecideds appear to be mostly white conservative women. Who gets the most help if and when they do decide -- King or Costello? I suppose the teevee ads they run will get refocused (fewer football and baseball games and more Fox and Friends).
-- HERO stands at 52% in favor. That is, in a word, awesome. The haters muster just 37%, and only 10% are undecided. That lede is essentially buried in both the HAR press release and the Chronicle article, and the newspaper, in its otherwise-tired fundraising analysis, notes that HERO supporters have doubled the money of Hotze and ilk. More and better on this topic, as usual, from Kuff.
Grand Old Professor Mark Jones is always available to piss on the parade.
... Rice University political scientist Mark Jones cautioned that the poll does not account for non-traditional city voters who may show up at the polls this year to vote on the ordinance, known as HERO.
It also likely under-represents support for Turner, Hall and potentially Garcia, Jones said, as it surveyed lower percentages of African American and Hispanic voters than are expected to turn out in November, given that there are two black candidates and one Hispanic candidate in the top-tier.
Sixty two percent of respondents identified as white, 20 percent as black, 10 percent as Hispanic and 2 percent as Asian.
"This survey would appear to be underestimating African American turnout by at least 10 percent and perhaps a little more," Jones said.
"If there are people who are being driven to turnout by the HERO ordinance or by Adrian Garcia's mobilization of the Hispanic community, they would not be represented," he added.
I cannot wait to see if this conservative jackass is right or wrong.
Updates: Via Mike McGruff, the top seven mayoral candidates will debate on teevee on Friday, October 16 -- that's the weekend before early voting begins the following Monday -- to be telecast by KPRC and Telemundo. That debate is also sponsored by the League of Women Voters and Houston Baptist University's law school. Get tickets to the event or live-streaming info and more at the link.
And a second mayoral poll came out today, sponsored by the conservative Houston Realty Business Coalition (they've endorsed Bill King) and it shows...
- Turner with 24%
- King with 18 (LOL)
- Garcia with 14
- Bell with 11
- Costello and Hall with 8
- three percent unsure, four percent someone else.
And as you might have guessed, it also thinks HERO is losing, 31-40 with 13% undecided and 16% declining to answer.
"We're still not sure what the electorate will look like, so polling the electorate has been a little dicey," University of Houston political scientist Brandon Rottinghaus said.
Rottinghaus said HRBC's poll likely over-represents younger and Republican voters, while under-representing African-Americans. "That's probably why you see King doing better in this poll, because Republicans tend to be more heavily represented."
In other words, it's garbage.