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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 23, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 25
'Undecided' wins new polls on mayor's race

Murray has a shot if he runs as write-in
Section One
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'Undecided' wins new polls on mayor's race

Murray has a shot if he runs as write-in

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Most Seattle voters have not made up their minds who they'll vote for in the race for mayor, according to two new polls, but if incumbent mayor Ed Murray were still in the race, he'd be leading the pack.

Murray dropped out of the race last month, his all-but-certain re-election derailed by a lawsuit charging him with paying for sex with a then-15-year-old boy in the 1980s. Murray denied the charges but said he felt they would become the central issue in the campaign if he stayed in the race.

Survey USA poll
A Survey USA poll released June 20 showed that former mayor Mike McGinn and former US attorney Jenny Durkan lead among the 21 candidates running to succeed Ed Murray as mayor of Seattle, but also that 33% of respondents would still have voted for Murray if he were in the race.

The poll, released June 20, was based on 900 Seattle adults - 800 of whom are actually registered to vote. Respondents were polled by phone, smartphone, tablet, or similar device.







Thirty-eight percent of those polled said they had not decided on a candidate, which 'makes the 21-candidate race far from a foregone conclusion,' according to pollster Jay Leve.

Of those who did favor a candidate other than Murray, 19% picked Mike McGinn and 14% named Jenny Durkan. Activist and attorney Nikkita Oliver came third with 9%, just ahead of state senator Bob Hasegawa with 8%. Former state representative Jessyn Farrell took 6%, and urban planner Cary Moon came in with 3%.

The bad news for Murray - if he decides to go the write-in route - is that 51% of the respondents said he did the right thing by dropping out.

If he were to run as a write-in candidate, 33% of the vote would likely be enough to get him through the primary and into the general election, but he would then have to overcome the objections of the 51% of voters who didn't want him in the race in the first place.

According to the poll, McGinn gets his support from males and younger people, and he also does well with Hispanic respondents.

Curiously enough, McGinn also does well with self-identified Republican or conservative respondents, despite being known as a strong progressive who supports a city income tax.

Republicans account for a very small percentage of the Seattle electorate, however. Only 10% of voters polled said they always vote for the Republican candidate. Thirty-eight percent said they vote Democratic, and 52% said they decide contest-by-contest.

Durkan does well among female respondents, as well as older people - particularly those 65 and older. She also did better among educated and affluent voters, whereas McGinn had a broader reach across different education and income levels.

Oliver does particularly well with voters who identified as strong Democrats or liberal-leaning. She also attracted more support among low-income and urban voters. Her strongest support was among Asian voters.

Wilson Strategic poll
The Wilson Strategic poll, published on June 21, shows a similar result. Twenty-two percent of the respondents picked Murray as their first choice. Leaving Murray aside, Durkan and Hasegawa led the pack.

Wilson polled a randomized section of Seattle residents who voted in at least three of four primary and general elections held in 2013 and 2015. It has a margin of error of four percentage points but used landline polling only, which would tend to exclude younger voters.

In this poll, Durkan was chosen by 30% of the respondents and Hasegawa by 9%. McGinn was the choice of 6% of the poll's respondents, leading Moon with 4%, Oliver with 3%, and Farrell with 2%.

Pollster DJ Wilson said he was surprised by how unpopular some candidates were. McGinn was viewed unfavorably by about 46% of respondents, while more than 20% had unfavorable views of Moon, Oliver, and Farrell.

'Really only Durkan and Hasegawa had strong favorable-versus-unfavorable numbers,' said Wilson, calling Hasegawa 'the first among equals' after Durkan.

According to the Wilson poll, Durkan would be harmed the most if Murray ran as a write-in candidate. In that event, her share of the first-choice pie would drop from 30% to 18%.

The primary election will be August 1. All ballots must be mailed in on or before that date. The top two candidates will then go to the general election in November.

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