City And Now for Some Election News
posted by November 3 at 10:41 AMon
The 2009 election, that is!
According to a poll conducted by Constituent Dynamics, Mayor Greg Nickels is in trouble. In a survey of more than 1,000 Seattle voters, just 26 percent said they would vote for Nickels for reelection; 53 percent said they would vote for another candidate. Among perfect voters—those who’ve voted in all four of the last four elections—those numbers were even worse for Nickels: just 22 percent said they would vote to give the mayor a third term, and 57 percent said they would vote for another candidate. Perfect voters may be a better predictor of actual voter behavior in next year’s election, because they tend to vote in lower-turnout off-year elections like next year’s. Asked about Nickels’s job performance, 31 percent of those voters said they approved, and 57 percent disapproved.
The pollsters also asked voters who among several possible candidates they’d vote for against Nickels. The strongest possible contender among those included in the survey was Peter Steinbrueck, who scored 39 percent of all voters and an impressive 44 percent of perfect voters against Nickels’s 26 percent of all voters and 27 percent of perfect voters. Nick Licata also beat Nickels in a hypothetical election, with 35 percent of all voters and 44 percent of perfect voters to Nickels’s 28 percent of all voters and 25 percent of perfect voters. Older voters—again, more likely to vote in off-year elections—tended to favor both Steinbrueck and Licata over Nickels, and to have stronger negative opinions about Nickels’s job performance. (Other candidates included in the survey included Richard Conlin, Sally Clark, and Mark Sidran, none of whom beat Nickels in a hypothetical election.) Interestingly, voters in Nickels’s own 34th Legislative District had the strongest negative opinion of him, with a whopping 67 percent disapproving of his performance and 59 saying they would vote for another candidate.
What does all this mean? For one thing, it means it would be a good time for a credible candidate like Steinbrueck to declare his intent to run against Nickels. Nickels’s strength has always been that people are afraid to run against him and take on the “Nickels Machine.” The fact that people are looking for an alternative to that machine—even saying, in effect, “anyone but Nickels”—is an opportunity that an ambitious politician would be wise to grab.