For Angelenos who have already made up their minds about the 2013 mayoral primary, their top pick is Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti, a new poll released Monday concludes.
The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University surveyed 3,749 voters as they left the polls Nov. 6. The poll indicated that two-thirds of those voters have not yet decided whom to vote for in the March 5, 2013 primary. For the 1,152 voters who had made up their minds, Garcetti led with 36 percent. Controller Wendy Greuel polled at 32 percent, while Councilwoman Jan Perry trailed with 15 percent followed by attorney Kevin James at 8.7 percent.
“We’re very encouraged by that because we think it shows the broad outlines of the Garcetti coalition,” the campaign’s Bill Carrick told KPCC. “Is it the end all and be all of all polling? No, but it’s very interesting.”
Those figures changed when voters were asked whether they would vote for Garcetti or Greuel in a runoff. Under that scenario, Greuel picked up 50.6 percent compared to Garcetti’s 49.4 percent. The poll's margin of error is 2.89 percent.
“It doesn’t mean it’s going to end up there in March but it shows you where we are at the starting line of this,” said Loyola Marymount University’s Fernando Guerra (a member of the KPCC board.) “It’s been a marathon, but now it starts to become much more of a sprint.”
Two of the leading campaigns disputed the poll's conclusions.
“This is at best a poorly executed exit poll with extremely flawed methodology. The results of an exit poll of November voters, which does not screen for voter history cannot be taken seriously by anyone who has ever done a poll or run a campaign,” said Eric Hacopian with the Perry campaign.
A consultant for the Greuel campaign said he agreed with the end result but questioned the breakdown of the survey.
“It doesn’t, obviously, take into consideration likely voters in the municipal race. Based on previous published polls, Wendy has consistently shown a wide lead in races where they use likely voters,” said John Shallman. “It’s just not relevant to what we need to be looking at for the March election.”
Asian-American and Latino voters favored Garcetti, who is of Mexican ancestry on his father’s side. Perry, who is African-American, polled at 51 percent with African American voters, while Greuel won with white voters.
Greuel led with 48 percent in the San Fernando Valley. She represented the Valley’s Second District in the L.A. City Council from 2002 to 2009.
When it comes to voters' religious identification, Garcetti leads with Catholics and atheists. Greuel carried Jewish voters, even though her two opponents – Garcetti and Perry – are Jewish.
Voters were asked whether Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s endorsement of a candidate would influence their vote for that person. Almost half – 47.8 percent – of respondents didn’t now how that would impact their vote. About 17 percent said that would make them somewhat more likely to back a candidate, while another 17 percent responded it would make them much less likely to vote for a person.
This post has been updated.