Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Raleigh City Council: A closer look

After diving into the numbers for Elizabeth Dole's reelection campaign I thought it'd be fun to do the same with the Raleigh City Council survey. I produced some new crosstabs which I thought were especially interesting. Take a look at the some of the "issue questions" we posed on our last city council survey, cross tabbed by the three contested elections.

At-Large (first choice only)

District A

District B

I guess what is most interesting are the inconsistencies. For example, a majority of the supporters of Mary Ann Baldwin, Paul Anderson, and Jessie Taliaferro and a plurality of the supporters of Tommy Craven say they are more likely to support a candidate who will raise the impact fee, yet those candidates are on record saying that the current impact fee is fine.

All candidates' supporters say they are less likely to support a candidate that receives large donations from developers. The N&O reported today on which candidates are receiving the most from the development industry. Some have pointed specifically to Baldwin, Anderson and Taliaferro as developer favorites, while the Triangle Community Coalition's straw poll (PDF) picked Baldwin, Will Best, Craven and Taliaferro. Even the other strong candidates Russ Stephenson, Nancy McFarlane and Rodger Koopman have gotten donations from developers of one kind or the other. But will major financial support from the development industry be a major issue in the campaign? Our polling certainly shows it as a liability and the N&O story this morning might be the start of more talk on the issue.

The Sierra Club has endorsed Stephenson, McFarlane and Koopman. Most of their supporters favor the Sierra Club endorsement, but even some say they are less likely to support a candidate endorsed by the Sierra Club. For example, will the 25% of Stephenson supporters who don't like the Sierra Club endorsement change their minds when/if they learn of the endorsement? Who knows.

Also of interest are the undecided voters. In the at-large race a strong plurality of the undecided voters like candidates who want higher impact fees, and a weaker plurality like the Sierra Club endorsement.

In District A a smaller plurality (43%) like higher impact fees, while 32% don't. And unlike the city at-large, a plurality of undecided voters in District A don't favor the Sierra Club endorsement.

In District B there is relative equal attitudes between those undecideds who favor higher impact fees, those who do not favor them, and those who say it won't make a difference in their vote. A small majority also say that the Sierra Club won't matter in their choice.

That's not terrific news for strong challengers McFarlane and Koopman who have made impact fees a central focus of their platforms. They need to collect large majorities of the undecided vote to reach 50%. However opportunities do exist to make hay with the developer issue. Undecideds in all the races, as do all voters surveyed, don't like large donations from developers.

Update (9/26/07): Note that the Triangle Community Coalition straw poll is not a scientific measurement, but a product of those people who showed up at the TCC pig pickin and chose to vote after listening to candidate speeches. I don't want anyone to think it was an endorsement or a true poll. It's just a straw poll. Thanks, Chris.

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