A figure close to the Mark Patrick Flaherty campaign tossed some poll numbers over ER’s digital transom and, not surprisingly, given the source, they contain good news for the controller in his race against Rich Fitzgerald, the former county council president.
A memo from Garin-Hart-Yang Research, Mr. Flaherty’s polling firm, said that in a survey last week, showed the controller leading Mr. Fitzgerald 46 percent to 28 percent with another 26 percent undecided among 404 likely Democratic voters questioned on April 26 and 27. Among a smaller sample of super-voters, Democrats who turned out in each of the last two municipal primaries, the margin was almost identical _ 48 percent to 30 percent.
David Brown, the campaign’s press secretary, confirmed the authenticity of the memo but would not release the full survey.
Those numbers might suggest why Mr. Fitzgerald’s campaign launched their first negative ad against the other Irishman this week. The Fitzgerald camp had no immediate comment on the figures.
See the memo after the jump:
M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Mark Patrick Flaherty for County Executive Campaign
FROM: Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group
DATE: May 2, 2011
RE: Last Week’s Tracking Survey Among Democratic Primary Voters
The results of our tracking survey among Democratic primary voters conducted last Tuesday and Wednesday confirm that Mark Patrick Flaherty continues to hold a solid lead and remains strongly positioned to win the May 17 Democratic primary.
The current trial heat standings show Mark garnering 46% of the primary vote, Rich Fitzgerald receiving 28%, and one-quarter (26%) undecided.
This is the first survey we have conducted since BOTH candidates have aired television commercials, which helps explain the increase in Rich Fitzgerald’s support: he was recognized by 39% of primary voters in March, and 64% now know him. In addition to Mark’s strong lead in the trial heat, deeper analysis of the data shows that his position is enviable, with two weeks remaining in the election.
ü Among the electorate who have voted in EACH of the past four Democratic primary elections, including BOTH the 2009 and 2007 municipal primary elections, Mark’s lead (48% to 30%) matches his lead among all voters.
ü Among voters who tell us they have seen a Flaherty TV ad, Mark holds a 22-point advantage over Rich Fitzgerald.
ü Mark has INCREASED his name recognition and popularity, and now has an extremely strong positive personal image of better than seven to one.
ü Remembering that Mark has 46% of the vote (barely shy of the 50% he needs to win), the undecided vote (currently 26%) likely will be divided between the two candidates, giving Mark a comfortable margin. For example, Fitzgerald’s image is 10% positive and 3% negative among undecided voters, whereas Mark’s image among the same group is 23% positive and 6% negative.
As always, we must point out the unpredictability of primary elections and caution that the race is not yet settled by any means. It is, however, very encouraging that Mark Patrick Flaherty maintains a solid lead, as well as his popularity and credibility in the face of his opponent’s strong advertising campaign.
This memorandum is based on a survey of 404 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted April 26 and 27, 2011. The margin of error for this survey’s findings is ±5 percentage points.