Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The San Diego Mayoral Race after the latest Survey USA poll

The San Diego Mayoral Race after the latest Survey USA poll:

DeMaio - 31%
Filner - 21%
Fletcher - 21%
Dumanis -13%

As rule, you should never put too much stock into auto response polls. The market for this type of stock is volatile and the futures are constantly shifting.

The Fletcher campaign was wallowing in third place until he renounced his Republican Party membership and declared himself Independent. There was a flurry of national, state and local press coverage and an uptick in his popularity. A significant portion of his new supporters came from the Democratic Party. There are many politically plugged-in Democrats who had met Nathan and were impressed by his bi-partisan talk and Kenndy-esque presence. With weak local party discipline these Democrats didn't have problems expressing their lack of enthusiasm for Filner whose campaign appeared to be M.I.A. and were going to vote for him out of obligation to voting for anything anti-Republican at City Hall.

After corralling this low hanging fruit with YouTube videos and buying ad time on television programming targeted at women, the Fletcher campaign began going after DeMaio. The bleeding of Democratic support away from Filner dried up and the DeMaio campaign began to freak out. DeMaio has been used to controlling the media narrative (very easy to do in San Diego which is a wonder why others don't do it as well) and to have Fletcher take it from him was fun to witness especially at City Council meetings. DeMaio's ground operation went into high gear to hold onto voters they had and bank as many VBMs as possible.

This poll reflects these actions with DeMaio holding a solid lead in the low 30s which is where he has always been. Sometimes he has been a bit lower or higher but never beyond a third of the electorate. We often discuss candidates having a bases of support but rarely their ceilings. DeMaio looks to be one of those cases where he is near or at his. There are San Diegans who want to believe that a term-limited City Councilman is a "businessman" who was powerless to prevent wasteful government spending after being in a position to do something about it for 8 years. And there are the majority of San Diegans who want no part of his snake oil. Unfortunately, the majority is divided for the June election and we must wait to see who DeMaio will lose to in the fall.

Fletcher may have gotten the support of the plugged-in Democrats and anti-Carl Republicans but there are not enough of them to create a base. The Decline-to-State portion of San Diego's electorate is being true to form and not jumping behind Fletcher. This is where the real fight is for who will become the next Mayor: Fletcher or Filner.

Once the hype around Fletcher died down most voters returned to their bases for the Primary. This is what Filner will need to pull this one out. His campaign has been a mystery to most Democrats with his absence on TV and uneven media performances. A note to the campaign; you may not like the press but when you don't have the resources to go on the air, the media is your only real vehicle for getting your message out. Being the only Democrat in the race gives Filner a solid base of votes that aren't going to any other candidate. It remains to be seen if this can translate citywide but neither Filner nor Fletcher appear to be near their ceilings of support.

Which leaves Bonnie Dumanis of a-sitting-DA-illegally-posting-signs-all-over-the-city-and-on-state-property-because-there-aren't-enough-lawns-to-put-them-in fame. Mayor Sanders will be a special guest at a fund-raiser for her on Thursday, which is appropriate. The one thing that can be agreed upon by Fletcher, Filner, and DeMaio is that each of them will bring change to an ossified downtown establishment. Only Dumanis doesn't appear to want to alter the status quo.  Her position in the polls should be a reminder to the powers that be where they are in the estimation of most San Diegans. Remember 2004; Frye's plurality was more of a protest against the business-as-usual culture downtown than a pro-Donna movement.

I think the conclusions of DeMaio first and Filner-Fletcher walloping each other for second is accurate. Why Dumanis is still in remains a mystery but Fletcher could always offer to make her "Campaign Czarina" or get her appointed to something in Sacramento while he's still a legislator.

Remember, the futures market is unpredictable.

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