The race to be Chapel Hill's next Mayor is too close to call. Matt Czajkowski leads Mark Kleinschmidt 45-44, a difference that suffice it to say is within the margin of error.
The key finding in the poll underscoring how divided the community is headed into election day is that 49% of voters think the town is headed in the right direction while 51% think it's off on the wrong track. That should make for closely contested races both for Mayor and Town Council.
Among voters happy with the current state of things Kleinschmidt leads 75-17. With those who would like a new direction Czajkowski has a 70-17 lead.
Both candidates are pretty well liked. 57% of voters have a favorable opinion of Kleinschmidt to 25% negative and for Czajkowski it's a positive 50/31 spread.
Kleinschmidt leads 58-34 with Democrats while Czajkowski is up 54-25 with independents and 79-13 with Republicans.
The race is also functioning to some extent as a referendum on Kevin Foy's time as Mayor. Kleinschmidt leads 73-20 with people who think Foy's doing a good job while Czajkowski is up 79-9 with people who think he's not. Foy leaves office with a pretty solid 50/31 approval spread, but the Town Council is less popular with 49% of voters expressing general disapproval of it to 40% giving it good marks.
There are inherent difficulties involved in polling Chapel Hill that could skew the results in one direction or another. There are many 'cell phone only' voters, particularly students, who would not be surveyed. Conventional wisdom would suggest those folks support Kleinschmidt because most students are Democrats and most Democrats support Kleinschmidt but there's no way to know that for sure. The poll also focused on people who have voted in local elections before, which would exclude people unhappy with the direction of the town coming out for the first time, which would be to Czajkowski's benefit. Hard to say how those factors do or don't offset each other but either way the race is almost definitely tight.
In the Council races Ed Harrison leads the way with 12% of the four way vote followed by Gene Pease at 11% and Laurin Easthom at 10%. Bunched very closely together for fourth place are Jon Dehart and Matt Pohlman at 9% and Penny Rich at 8%. Further back are Jim Merritt with 7% and Will Raymond with 3%. Voters were undecided about how they would distribute 30% of their Council votes, meaning that really anyone is in contention probably except Raymond.
It should be a close one, it's all going to come down to who can get their people out to the polls.
Full results here