Friday, December 5, 2014 by Jo Clifton

Adler maintains lead in new Austin Monitor poll

According to a poll conducted this week among 942 likely Austin voters, mayoral candidate and attorney Steve Adler maintains a commanding lead over his runoff opponent, City Council Member Mike Martinez. When asked who they would be likely to vote for in the Dec. 16 runoff election, 56 percent of respondents said Adler, compared to 39 percent for Martinez. Only 5 percent said they were undecided.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted the poll on Dec. 2 and 3. The poll was commissioned by the Austin Monitor and was made possible through a generous donation by Texas Disposal Systems.

The poll also showed that 65 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Adler, with only 19 percent having an unfavorable opinion. As for Martinez, 46 percent had a favorable and 44 percent had an unfavorable view. The unfavorable number is about 5 percent higher than the same pollster found last month.

Adler also had 56 percent of the vote when Public Policy Polling asked the same questions in mid-November. At that time, Martinez had 35 percent of the vote, and 8 percent were undecided.

Peck Young, director of the Center for Public Policy and Political Studies at Austin Community College and a former professional political consultant, said he thought the lack of movement in the polls indicated that people stopped paying attention to politics over the Thanksgiving holiday.

However, when he looked at the unfavorable numbers in the poll, Young said he thought that Adler’s negative attacks on Martinez were taking their toll. During the last couple of days, the Adler campaign has sent out two full-color glossy mailers attacking Martinez. Adler also has a television ad attacking Martinez.

Young added, “Apparently, especially among the white voters, the negative stuff has damaged Mike … but mainly nobody’s been paying a lot of attention.”

Political consultant Mark Littlefield had a slightly different take. He said, “I guess whatever the campaigns have done just is a stalemate … What hit the mailbox in the last 72 hours probably is not reflected in your poll.”

Adler apparently has lost ground among Democrats but gained among independents and Republicans. According to the poll, Adler has support among 38 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of independents queried. Martinez is getting 57 percent of Democratic voters, 28 percent of independents and just 7 percent of Republicans among those responding to the poll.

By age group, Martinez does best among younger voters, winning 48 percent of the 18 to 45 group; 38 percent of the 46 to 65 group; and 31 percent of those older than 65. Adler got 64 percent of those over 65, 57 percent of voters age 46 to 65, and 46 percent of the youngest group of the voters.

According to the poll, Adler does almost as well among Hispanics as does Martinez, but considerably better among white and African-American voters. Of those polled, 47 percent of Hispanics said they would vote for Adler as compared to 49 percent who said they would vote for Martinez. Sixty percent of whites and 51 percent of African-Americans said they would vote for Adler. Thirty-five percent of whites and 42 percent of African-Americans chose Martinez. Among those who characterized themselves as “other,” 44 percent said they would vote for Martinez as compared to 39 percent for Adler.

On Nov. 4, Adler won 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.

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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.

Texas Disposal Systems (TDS): An Austin-San Antonio landfill, recycling and composting system.

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