Monday, June 11, 2012

DeMaio v. Filner for San Diego Mayor

Okay, okay, we've know this for the past week that Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner are facing off in November.  But with the most recent Survey USA poll out giving Filner a 3 point lead over DeMaio, we are left to wonder what happens next.  As neither Filner nor DeMaio have to worry about bleeding support - core DeMaio backers aren't going to vote for Filner in November and vice versa - we are left wondering about the following groups:

Dumanis Backers: Thus far, the Survey USA poll indicates that Dumanis backers are supporting Filner by a 2:1 margin.  This makes sense given that Dumanis' support would come from women (who, thanks to various Republican platforms and policies, tend to back Democrats), and law enforcement types (who aren't thrilled with DeMaio's pension-cutting plans for the police).  In fact, Dumanis initally tried very hard to run like a Democrat by getting endorsements by Democratic officials until she was rebuffed by the local party (a move I highly approve of).  Anyway, with that being the case, most of her supporters will probably vote for Filner.

Fletcher Backers: Nathan Fletcher surprised a lot of people, myself included, by doing as well as he did in this campaign.  Initially, I thought Fletcher would be the Republican version of Bonnie Dumanis - the more moderate, more Downtown-oriented alternative to Carl DeMaio.  What I didn't realize was that Fletcher was an incredibly strong candidate, that his connections to the powers that be were rock solid, and that he would be willing to drop the Republican Party.  In so doing he ended up with 24% of the vote.  Given his background, its not surprising that Fletcher backers break evenly in the most recent poll.  That said, his backers aren't exactly sold on either Filner or DeMaio.  So, if Fletcher endorses anyone, its going to be a big deal. 

People Who Didn't Vote: By their very nature, primaries are less glamorous than general elections, and so, many voters simply stay home and wait for November.  Last Tuesday, less than half of all registered voters actually voted.  Come November, turnout will probably be around 60%.  So there is a huge chunk (12% of the Survey USA poll) of voters whose voice has not yet been heard.  So, where do these votes go?  Right now, DeMaio seems to have more of those voters, but general election voters lean heavily Democratic, and Filner could take the lion's share. 

Downtown: While both Filner and DeMaio have connections to traditional San Diego power brokers, Fletcher and Dumanis were, by and large, supported by "Downtown" - the group of real estate interests, power brokers, and developers who have dominated San Diego politics for generations.  With their preferred candidates out, where does their support (and their money) go?  Given past experiences, this group isn't going to sit out the election.  Nor are they particularly enamored with Carl DeMaio.  So, do they back Filner or do they try to make nice with DeMaio? 

All in all, there are a lot of unknowns going forward.  Both camps have to feel that their positions are relatively strong going into November.

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