As a reader service, Early Returns will be distributing free grains of salt to its vast readership. With that gift handy, we're also distributing the results of an internal Peduto poll circulating among his supporters and the donors he's trying to attract.
We didn't see the cross-tabs or any of the fine detail, but the results largely track those in the only public survey of the race so far, the early March findings of Keystone Analytics, a firm that's new to polling in the region. Both saw Mr. Peduto with the lead in a race with a substantial bloc of undecided voters, just a little more than two months before the May 21 balloting. The Peduto numbers, from a survey conducted by his polling firm, Lake Research Partners, show Mr. Peduto leading with the support of 30 percent of likely Democratic voters, followed by former Auditor General jack Wagner, 21 percent; city Controller Michael Lamb, 12 percent; city Council President Darlene Harris, 5 percent; and 4 percent for state Rep. Jake Wheatley. The survey did not test the remaining name on the Democratic ballot, that of community activist A.J. Richardson.
Those of you doing the arithmetic at home will have noted that Mr. Peduto's total gives him just a slender advantage over the 28 percent of likely voters who were either undecided or didn't express an opinion. So the real bottom line here may be how wide open this race continues to be. You'll find the text of the Peduto poll memo -- though not the complete details of its findings -- after the jump.
To: Interested Parties
From: Lake Research Partners
Re: New Poll Shows Peduto with Lead, Broad Support in Crowded Field for Mayor
Date: March, 21, 2013
A new citywide survey of likely municipal primary voters in Pittsburgh reveals Bill Peduto strongly positioned as Democratic voters’ top choice for mayor less than two months before the May Primary. This data mirrors the findings of a similar poll conducted in early March, just before Wagner entered the race. As the field of mayoral candidates has continued to grow in the wake of Mayor Ravenstahl’s announcement, Peduto retains the strongest base of supporters of anyone running. He also boasts the broadest appeal, attracting more support than his opponents across an expansive coalition of voters that will play a key role in electing Pittsburgh’s next mayor.
This is the second of two polls released this month that shows Peduto’s lead over former Auditor General Jack Wagner at or near double digits. Peduto currently leads by nine points, compared to 10 points two weeks ago. Wagner received no boost upon entering the race: 20% said they would vote for him just before he announced, while just 21% say they support him two weeks later. Meanwhile—and contrary to conventional wisdom—the recent entries of Wagner, Harris, and Wheatley have not undercut Peduto’s support, which has held at 30% through both polls.
City Controller Michael Lamb attracts just 12% of Pittsburgh’s Democratic voters, and the remaining candidates fail to break out of single digits. Just 5% say they would vote for Councilwoman Darlene Harris, and 4% choose State Representative Jake Wheatley.
Peduto’s base is robust and diverse. Peduto leads the other candidates among men and women, younger and older voters, whites and African Americans, married and unmarried voters. He is the only candidate who can claim this level of broad-based—yet deep—support.
Bottom Line: While this remains a competitive race, Bill Peduto has a strong and intense base of support, that traverses the city and defies easy definition. Since Ravenstahl’s decision to exit the race, Pittsburgh Democrats have consistently pointed to Peduto as the candidate they believe has the experience and vision Pittsburgh needs to get back on track, a dynamic that has not changed even as the field of candidates has more than doubled in size. The combination of these factors only underscores Peduto’s advantage heading into the final weeks of this campaign.