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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Monday, November 17, 2014 by Jo Clifton
Monitor Poll: Adler’s lead over Martinez increasing
A poll commissioned by the Austin Monitor shows that 56 percent of voters said they would likely vote for mayoral candidate Steve Adler, compared to 35 percent who said they would vote for his runoff opponent, City Council Member Mike Martinez. Only 8 percent of those polled indicated that they were undecided in the mayoral contest.
The poll was conducted by phone on Nov. 12 and 13 by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina. Jim Williams, who was in charge of the poll, said 846 Austin voters participated who said they were certain or likely to vote in the Dec. 16 runoff.
This is a considerably larger advantage than the Nov. 4 election showed. During that contest, Adler pulled in 37 percent of the vote and Martinez got 30 percent. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole had 15 percent and Todd Phelps got 10 percent. There were eight mayoral candidates in that election.
According to the poll, 62 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Adler, with only 16 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion.
The poll showed 48 percent of those queried had a favorable opinion of Martinez, while 39 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him, more than twice as many as had an unfavorable opinion of Adler.
Of those surveyed, 36 percent had voted for Adler, 30 percent for Martinez and 13 percent for Cole. Ten percent had voted for Phelps, and 9 percent had voted for someone else.
Among those polled, Adler is winning 45 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of independents. Martinez is winning 48 percent of Democrats, 9 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents.
Williams said Martinez would be most likely to increase his numbers by getting more support from both Democrats and independents. Sixteen percent of those calling themselves independent said they were not sure whom they would vote for in the runoff election.
Williams said, “It looks like the Sheryl Cole folks are split, and the Phelps folks are going to Adler in huge numbers. … If Martinez wanted to gain ground, he might have to win over more of those Sheryl Cole folks. Her folks are splitting 42 to Adler and 41 to Martinez.” Although both candidates sought her endorsement, Cole declined to endorse either one. Phelps endorsed Adler.
Among voters 65 and older, 65 percent said they preferred Adler, while 25 percent preferred Martinez, with 11 percent undecided. In the 45 to 65 age group, 54 percent preferred Adler to 40 percent for Martinez, and 6 percent were undecided. And in the youngest age group, 18 to 45, 51 percent preferred Adler to 38 percent for Martinez, with 11 percent undecided.
Sixty-three percent of voters who identified themselves as white said they would likely vote for Adler, compared to 30 percent who said they would vote for Martinez and 7 percent who were undecided. Sixty percent of Hispanics and 24 percent of African-Americans surveyed said they would vote for Martinez. Adler was the preferred choice for 39 percent of Hispanics and 43 percent of African-Americans. Those who chose “other” in the ethnic category picked Adler 56 percent of the time and Martinez 26 percent of the time, with 18 percent not sure.
Among those groups, African-Americans were the most likely to say they were undecided, at 32 percent.
Last week, Martinez blasted Adler because his partner did some work for Koch Industries about 30 years ago. Adler called Martinez’s attack false and desperate. The Monitor asked Williams whether invoking the name of the Koch brothers could help Martinez. He replied, “The only people who get really mad about the Koch brothers are hardcore Democrats. We’ve seen it nationally and it didn’t seem to work too well.”
Peck Young, director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College, said he was not surprised by the poll results. “I think the poll is pretty accurate. Mike’s got one fundamental problem, and that is that he’s an incumbent. There is a major change out there among the electorate. What kind of change, I think they’re trying to figure out, and I think the support for Adler reflects that.”
Young said he thought runoff elections in Districts 7, 8 and 10 on the west side of the city would help Adler in areas where he won the Nov.4 election. On the east side, he said, Martinez would be helped by runoffs in Districts 1 and 3. However, Hispanic voters in Districts 2 and 5, as well as other voters in those districts, may be less likely to turn out for the runoff, which could hurt Martinez.
Young added, “The most fundamental finding of the election is the voters want change.” He said although the numbers may not have reflected it on Election Day, he thought the poll gives a strong indication that Adler will win.
Public Policy Polling is a well-known and widely respected firm that works only for Democrats and progressive organizations. The poll was made possible through a generous donation by Texas Disposal Systems. TDS did not know the identity of the polling agency.
The complete set of PPP data is below. It is downloadable.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
Austin City Council November 2014 Elections: The November 2014 Austin City Council elections marked a shift from an all-at-large City Council to one elected based mostly on geographic districts. The city's Mayor remains elected at-large.
Mike Martinez: Former Austin City Council member. First elected in 2006, Martinez served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2009 until 2011. He ran for Austin Mayor as part of the November 2014 citywide elections.