October 21, 2014 at 10:44 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
New poll shows Bowser with 12-point lead over Catania
Muriel Bowser, gay news, Washington Blade

D.C. mayoral candidate Muriel Bowser holds a comfortable lead over her opponents less than two weeks from the election, according to a new poll. (Washington Blade file photo by Vladyslav Rekhovskyy)

A new poll commissioned by the business advocacy group Economic Growth DC shows D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) leading her main rival, Council member David Catania (I-At-Large), by a margin of 45 percent to 33 percent, with independent Carol Schwartz at 12 percent.

In a dramatic change from a similar poll commissioned by Economic Growth DC released on Oct. 1, the number of respondents saying they were undecided dropped from 27 percent to just 7 percent in the latest poll.

The earlier poll showed Bowser leading Catania by an 8-point margin. There’s a margin of error in the latest poll of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

The latest poll was conducted for Economic Growth DC by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic polling firm. The earlier poll was conducted by the Arlington, Va., firm Poll LLC.

The latest poll was released on the same day that Catania held a news conference and rally outside the offices of the city’s Board of Elections to showcase his support from prominent Democratic voters and community leaders.

Among those turning out for the gathering were several prominent gay Democrats, including Ward 6 Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Andy Litsky and Ward 3 ANC commissioner and former Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance President Bob Summersgill. Gay Democratic activists Lane Hudson and John Klenert, who joined the Catania campaign as volunteers earlier this year, also attended the gathering.

Catania said he was confident a growing number of Democratic voters would recognize his long record of accomplishments on the City Council and view him as being both the progressive and anti-establishment candidate needed to lead the city. The Catania campaign has said its own internal polling has shown him continuing to narrow Bowser’s lead.

But officials associated with the latest poll said its findings indicate longstanding D.C. voting trends favoring Democratic mayoral candidates appear to be emerging with Election Day less than two weeks away.

“It seems that Democrats who may have been on the fence have come home to Council member Bowser,” said Dave Oberting, Economic Growth DC’s executive director.

“Bowser’s advantage is built upon the strength of her support among African-American voters, who comprise a slight plurality of the electorate,” a statement released by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner says.

The poll, which sampled 800 likely voters through landlines and cell phones between Oct. 16 and 19, found that Bowser led Catania among African-American respondents by a margin of 57 percent to 19 percent, with Schwartz receiving 14 percent of the African-American sample.

Catania led Bowser among white voters by a margin of 51 percent to 32 percent, with Schwartz receiving 9 percent of the sample of white voters, according to the poll.

The poll shows that Bowser came out ahead of Catania with women voters by a margin of 45 percent to 32 percent, with Schwartz receiving 13 percent of female voters. Bowser was ahead of Catania by a similar margin with male voters, receiving 46 percent of the male vote compared to 35 percent for Catania. Schwartz received 10 percent of the male vote.

“Though Bowser holds a solid lead, there is an element of fluidity left in the race,” the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner statement says. “One-in-five voters in this electorate are weak Bowser supporters, and another 7 percent remain undecided.”

The statement also points out that on specific issues, Bowser’s lead over Catania is considerably less than 12 percent and on a few issues, she trails Catania.

The poll found that when asked which candidate “represents a change from the current administration, Catania was ahead of Bowser by a margin of 40 percent to 28 percent, with Schwartz receiving 13 percent.

Catania also beat Bowser on the question of who would work with the business community to grow and create jobs, with 38 percent saying Catania would do those things compared to 31 percent for Bowser. Twelve percent picked Schwartz on that question.

However, on the question of who would improve public schools, Bowser came in ahead of Catania by a slight margin of 34 percent to 33 percent, despite Catania’s outspoken support for improving the city’s schools in his role as chair of the Council’s education committee.

Bowser and Catania had nearly identical favorability ratings, according to the poll’s findings. Bowser had a 48-27 favorable versus unfavorable ratio. Catania had a 46-23 ratio of being viewed favorably versus unfavorably.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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