If the election were held today, Sylvester Turner would be the next mayor of Houston according to a poll by the KHOU – Houston Public Media Poll. Half of all likely voters have already made up their minds on who they plan to vote for Mayor in four months. The two candidates that should be ecstatic by this news are Sylvester Turner and Adrian Garcia. Chris Bell is trailing just behind but, in single digits.
Turner leads the pack at sixteen percent (16%) compared to Garcia at twelve percent (12%) with Bell at eight percent (8%) just within the margin of error. Blame name recognition or an apathetic voter base that turns out between ten to thirteen percent of the time. One thing to keep in mind is that Turner, Garcia, and Bell have appeared on ballots in Houston city elections repeatedly for more than a decade while the other candidates seem to be fresh faces. The poll surveyed 500 voters who had cast ballots in at least two of the last three (2009, 2011, or 2013) municipal elections. In other words, those surveyed have either voted for Annise Parker or not in recent years.
According to Bob Stein, Rice University political scientist who designed this poll, Houston voters “tend to be disproportionately older, Anglo, Democratic, educated homeowners” in city elections. State Medellin of Dos Centavos notes “among registered voters, with a larger sample of Hispanics, Garcia is in the lead 15% to 13% [and] among Anglo voters, Garcia held a 13% to 9% edge on Turner.” Charles Kuffner of Off the Kuff adds, “Don’t let the low numbers for the nominal Republican candidates (Bob King and Stephen Costello) fool you. Roy Morales polled at five and six percent in those 2009 polls, but wound up with 20% and actually did better than Peter Brown on Election Day.” PDiddie of Brains and Eggs speculates that, “Adrian Garcia may not need ‘historic turnout’ from his community after all.”
What are your thoughts on this poll? Have you already made up your mind on who you want to replace Annise Parker as Mayor of Houston? Why or why not?