Six takeaways from first poll of the Savannah mayoral race

The Savannah Morning News on Friday published the results of an automated phone survey by Rosetta Stone Communications of 400 likely voters about their preferences in the city’s upcoming mayoral election.

The four candidates are Eddie DeLoach, Edna Jackson (I), Murray Silver, and Louis Wilson. In a previous post here, I’ve pointed out that Jackson will be difficult to beat, but here are some takeaways from the survey:

1) Polling matters, and candidates would make a mistake to ignore polling (especially if they don’t like the results), but this is only one poll, and the election is still over a month away. The margin of error is 4.9 percent, and it’s always possible that any given poll could have flaws that introduce an even larger margin of error.

2) Jackson leads in this survey with a total of 34 percent and has the support of 54 percent of black likely voters. That is terrible news for Jackson. She’s been on the political scene for many years and has been mayor for almost four years. If only slightly over half of black voters currently support her, then she might want to do some soul-searching at this point. Seriously, this is bad, bad news for Jackson.

3) DeLoach stands at 29 percent in this survey — a solid enough number given his rather recent entry into the race. He currently has 47 percent of the white support, and he actually has 14 percent of black support — i.e., he is doing slightly better among black voters than Jackson is among white voters. If that data point holds up in November, we will possibly have a new mayor.

4) This is a disappointing result for Murray Silver (8 percent) and even moreso for Louis Wilson (1 percent), but keep in mind that rather large margin of error, and keep in mind that we’re just now on the verge of the first mayoral forums and debates.

5) I’ve frequently heard Savannahians say that DeLoach’s entry into the race secures a Jackson win. Those people are wrong. The winner must ultimately get 50 percent of the vote in either the general election or in a runoff. I still think Jackson has a chance of getting 50 percent in November but, with four candidates in the race, the odds of a runoff increase dramatically.

6) A whopping 28 percent of voters remain undecided, according to this survey, including 29 percent of black voters. Again, that’s a clear indictment of Jackson’s leadership, but we could still expect a significant portion of those voters to end up voting for Jackson. If she gets just over half of the undecided, she would be at the 50 percent threshold. But the voters are undecided for a reason — they’re waiting to hear more from the other candidates or waiting to learn more about the candidates and issues. Not good news for the incumbent.

Here’s the post from Rosetta Stone Communications:


Posted by Rosetta Stone Communications on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

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