Jim Hahn holds the record for citywide elections won, and just as many voters think Los Angeles has improved while he's been mayor as deteriorated. But in the first independent poll of the mayoral campaign, published in Sunday's Times, only 21% of likely voters say they will give Hahn a second term. Some 48% disapprove of his performance. While stinging, it's not as dire as it may sound, since no one else in the race polls higher. Plus, almost a third of voters remain up for grabs, and a like number say they might change their minds. Still, in judging the mayor, voters mention looming City Hall corruption scandals and that he's "not a strong leader." They care less about his opposition to secession or his removal of Parks as police chief.
With a little over a month to go, the Times Poll finds that a runoff rematch between Hahn and Villaraigosa is the most likely scenario. "It is always tough to beat an incumbent and beating Hahn will be no exception....However, there are chinks in the mayor’s armor that he will have to overcome in order to just get in the runoff," says the analysis from Times Poll Director Susan H. Pinkus, Jill Darling Richardson and Patrick McAlearney.
The horserace among likely voters:
Don't know: 31%
(Margin of error 4%; 1454 registered voters/695 likely voters polled Jan. 26-Feb. 3)
The bottom line analysis by Pinkus et al:
If Hahn gets into the runoff, he is in a better position than any of his opponents because his base is more evenly distributed among liberals, moderates and conservatives as well as in all parts of the city. Plus 37% of voters say they want the next mayor of LA to be a strong city manager and these voters are supporting Hahn (23%). Almost a quarter say they want the next mayor to have a combination of being a strong manager, salesman to attract businesses and tourism and be able to build bridges among all racial and ethnic groups. This group also thinks Hahn is the candidate to do this (22%). He will, however, have to do better among Jewish voters and extend an olive branch in the parts of the African-American community that are still upset with him over the firing of Parks.
Here are some numbers I find interesting, with my comments. First, the favorable/unfavorable/not aware of him stats:
The mayor and the police chief he fired are tied for citywide favorables. Ouch. But among voters who rank crime as their #1 issue, Hahn beats Parks 28%-11%. Chief Bill Bratton puts them both to shame: his favorable is 75%.
Voters were asked if they have a second choice:
Alarcon's campaign promptly issued a press release with the screaming headline: "Alarcon Leads as 'Second Choice.'"
Who leads among various groups:
Democrats: Villaraigosa 25%, Hahn 22%
Republicans: Hahn 21%, Hertzberg 18%
Whites: Hahn 25%, Villaraigosa 20%
Latinos: Villaraigosa 30%, Hahn 17%
Blacks: Parks 42%, Hahn 25%
Westside: Villaraigosa 28%, Hahn 24%
Valley: Hertzberg 21%, Hahn 18%
Central L.A.: Villaraigosa 38%, Hahn 20%
South L.A.: Parks 34%, Hahn 26%
Parks isn't taking as much of the black vote from Hahn as many expected. Notice Hahn is first or second in every category; nobody else can say that, and it may get him reelected.
Is life in your community better or worse after four years of Hahn?:
Westside: 17% better, 20% worse, 60% same
Valley: 26% better 25% worse 50% same
Central L.A.: 32% better, 23% worse, 44% same
South L.A.: 21% better, 25% worse, 53% same
The Valley is schizoid, as usual. Valley voters also rate their schools higher, but are more likely to favor breaking up the LAUSD. The Valley is split 49%-49% on raising the sales tax to hire more police.
Does he have the honesty and integrity to be mayor? Yes/no/don't know:
One of those "chinks" for Hahn, but he's still on the plus side. Though, 7 in 10 voters have heard of corruption allegations and investigations of players around Hahn, and 37% say it makes them less likely to vote for him. If anyone close to Hahn is indicted before the election, watch out.
Also in the weekend papers: Controller Laura Chick's private memo for the challengers rips Hahn directly and is longer than the 12 pages that the LA Weekly reported (LAT, DN). The mayor orders new rules for contracting at the city's big 3 departments (LAT, DN and DB). And the candidates (except for Hertzberg) are holding back on expensive TV time for a reason.
And: BoifromTroy explains where the Pacific Dining Car fits in as an L.A. political watering hole.