Poll: Mayor’s race is still a wide-open contest

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Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr

A new Fox 45 poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Services shows former Mayor Sheila Dixon has a slim lead in the mayor’s race, trailed by a group in a three-way tie: former BPD spokesman T.J. Smith, former federal prosecutor and Deputy Attorney General of Maryland Thiru Vignarajah and State Sen. Mary Washington.

Dixon has 17 percent support, while Smith, Vignarajah and Washington all have an equal share of 15 percent. City Council President Brandon Scott and Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, the only candidates among the leaders to actively hold a position in city government, have 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

But here’s the rub: The margin of error is plus-or-minus 6 points, meaning anyone from Dixon to Scott could statistically be the actual front-runner.

Compared with a Gonzales poll that Fox 45 ran in January, Washington (up 8 points) and Smith (up 4 points) have surged, while Scott (down 7 points) and Young (down 6 points) have plummeted. It’s worth pointing out that January poll had the same margin of error as the one released today.

Today’s numbers are wildly different than a poll released by Scott’s campaign and published by the Baltimore Brew on Monday. That survey, conducted by Global Strategy Group, had Dixon at 20 percent and Scott at 16 percent, followed by Smith (13 percent), Young (11 percent), Vignarajah (11 percent), Mary Washington (9 percent) and former Treasury Department official Mary Miller (2 percent).

For those keeping score at home, the margin of error on that poll was plus-or-minus 4.9 percent.

Scott’s campaign said its poll was proof the council president is “best positioned to win this race—and the only person with the citywide support needed to overcome Baltimore’s failed status quo leadership.”

They also pointed to Scott’s high favorability ratings compared to his peers, arguing they give him the best chance of separating from the pack.

OK, let’s get this out of the way: Here’s how each poll was conducted. Both Gonzales polls surveyed more than 300 likely Democratic voters, while the one from Scott’s campaign surveyed 401 likely Democratic voters between Feb. 6-10.

Naturally, the Smith and Washington campaigns seized on today’s results as signs of their respective candidate’s viability.

However, when looking at all the polling data available, it feels like the state of the mayor’s race is ‾\_(ツ)_/‾.

Brandon Weigel

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