Poll: Hogan, Moran Lead Mayoral Race
If Jacksonville's mayoral election was held today, it looks like Republicans Mike Hogan and Audrey Moran would advance to a May run-off. That's according a poll conducted by Dixie Strategies and sponsored the Jacksonville Observer.
The survey was taken on Thursday and Friday (March 17-18) and includes responses from 637 likely voters. The poll's margin of error is 3.88%.
THE MAYOR'S RACE...
In the top race on the ballot, Mike Hogan leads Audrey Moran by a slim margin of 28% to 27%. Hogan is dominating among Republican voters, taking 45% to Moran's 18%, however, Moran is making up the difference by splitting Democrats evenly with Alvin Brown.
"There was a void in the moderate-to-liberal marketplace that Audrey Moran has managed to capitalize on. The fact that she is the only female is also advantageous to her," said Brian Graham of Dixie Strategies. "What I see from these numbers is that Hogan is a lock for a spot in the run-off and if I were Rick Mullaney, I'd be very worried right now."
The race for third place is also tight, as our survey shows Democrat Alvin Brown edging past Republican Rick Mullaney by a fraction of a percent. Brown has 16.5% while Mullaney captures 16.2%.
A big question is whether the barrage of negative attacks that Mullaney has launched against Moran will be enough to shift voters and change the outcome.
"Things could sink in over the weekend and shake a few points loose," said Graham of the Mullaney assault. "I'm not saying it can't be done, but it's tough."
Graham also points to the relatively low number of undecided voters in this race -- about 6% -- as more evidence in support of a Hogan and Moran run-off.
The race for Tax Collector, which includes 3 Republicans and no Democrats, still has a very high number of undecided voters.
Former legislator Dick Kravitz leads the field with 34% to City Councilman Michael Corrigan's 20% and 12% for Ryan Taylor. Another 34% of voters have yet to make up their minds.
"Kravitz is looking very strong right now, most likely we'll see him in a run-off against Michael Corrigan," said Brian Graham. "There may be some residual name recognition benefit for Ryan Taylor from [council candidate] David Taylor as well."
OTHER INTERESTING RESULTS...
Predicting the At-Large City Council races is extremely difficult, with large numbers of candidates and many undecided voters.
"I don't know if these candidates have been able to define themselves enough for voters to make an informed choice," said Brian Graham.
The highest profile of the contests is in Group 1, where all three candidates have faced significant personal issues. Republican David Taylor looks headed to a run-off against Democrat Kimberly Daniels. The Dixie Strategies-Jacksonville Observer survey shows Taylor leading with 34% to 30% for Daniels. Independent Steve Burnett has the backing of 11% of voters.
"A one-on-one race with fewer contests on the ballot will give the voters more opportunities to scrutinize the remaining candidates," said Graham. "That might not be helpful for Ms. Daniels."
In the Group 2 race, Democratic incumbent John Crescimbeni leads the pack with over 48% of the vote, just short of the 50% he would need to win an outright victory on Tuesday. Tom Patton currently leads up the pack of three Republican challengers with 13%, ahead of Paul Martinez and Vince Serrano who are trailing with 11% and 7%, respectively. If Crescimbeni fails to top 50% of the vote, a run-off will be held in May between the top vote getters.
About 80% of the undecided voters in that race are Republicans, many of whom are likely unfamiliar with the field of Republican candidates.
"He [Crescimbeni] has a party affiliation that enables him to capture the majority of Democrats," said Graham. "And then he's used his advertising to target Republican voters."
The other two at-large races are complete toss-ups.
In Group 4, Jim Robinson holds a narrow lead over Juan Diaz and Greg Anderson. However, 44% of voters remain undecided in that race.
The numbers: Robinson 23%, Diaz 18% and Anderson trails with 16%.
"Anything could happen in that race," remarks Graham.
In Group 5, a crowded field of six candidates heavily splits the vote.
Independent Donald Foy, surprisingly, leads the pack with 16% of the vote.. An African-American and the only non-Republican on the ballot, he draws the vast majority of his support from Democrats.
In second place is Republican Robin Lumb, leading Sean Hall who many expected to be a lock for a spot in the eventual run-off.
The numbers: Foy 16%, Lumb 14%, Hall 11%, Rukab 9%, Tappouni 8% and Fred Engness is picking up 7%.
With 35% of voters yet to make a decision, Graham says that no outcome would surprise him.
"I have no idea what to say about this race, it's a toss-up in so many different ways," said Graham. "It doesn't take much to fall from first to third place with so many candidates running. But I expect this will be a very close one as I don't think anyone will blow anyone else out of the water among the undecideds."
We'll have more results from our poll, including complete numbers broken down by party registration and gender in the next 24 hours. Plus, complete results from the races for Sheriff and Property Appraiser.
NOTE TO MEDIA: YOU MUST IDENTIFY THIS POLL AS THE "DIXIE STRATEGIES - JACKSONVILLE OBSERVER POLL" WHEN CITING NUMBERS PUBLICLY
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