A public opinion poll commissioned by Baristanet has found that Real Progress Montclair candidate Karen Turner has a slight edge in a tight three-way race for mayor of Montclair.
The poll also found that 34 percent of people who have been following the story about the assisted living project proposed for Church Street favor it while 39 percent oppose it, and 27 percent are not sure. The Montclair Council is scheduled to have a second reading next Tuesday on amending the Hahne’s redevelopment plan for downtown Montclair to allow the proposed facility on Church Street. The resolution was passed unanimously on first reading on April 3.
The survey was conducted by SurveyUSA, a nationally-known independent polling firm based in Clifton, and can be seen here. The margin of error on the mayor question is ± 5.3 percent. The margin of error on the assisted living facility question is ± 6.2 percent. The poll was conducted over the past two nights by telephone calls to 500 registered voters. Only residents who said they had been following news stories were asked to answer the questions. The order of the mayoral candidates was rotated in the survey.
SurveyUSA elaborates: Twelve days to the election for Mayor of Montclair, Karen Turner may have a small lead over Robert Jackson and Harvey Susswein – depending on which voters show up on Election Day. Subject to the caveats that follow, SurveyUSA has it: Turner 33, Jackson 24, Susswein 23.
Turner’s supporters are young and female. Young voters, in all elections (municipal to presidential), are the least reliable. If they fail to turn out on election day, Turner’s support here will be over-stated. Turner is strongly supported in the white and Hispanic communities. She is strongly supported among women, consistent with her “Montclair Moms” constituency.
Jackson’s support is older and black. He is backed by 31 percent of Montclair’s senior citizens and 43 percent of Montclair’s blacks. If black turnout (estimated here at 11 percent) is understated in these results, Jackson will outperform the poll numbers.
Susswein’s support is broad based, slightly more male than female, slightly older than younger, and evenly distributed across the township’s whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. Susswein needs old, white, men to vote in disproportionately large numbers in order to outperform these poll numbers.
If you examine only those voters age 50+, the contest is a 3-way tie, with Jackson, Turner and Susswein each within a point of the other. If you look at only those voters age 49 and younger, Turner leads her challengers by more than 2:1. The more women who vote, the better for Turner, the only female candidate.
Voters are typically late to focus on low-turnout, off-year municipal elections, and often news is made, and voter focus intensifies, in the final few days of the campaign. That said, these poll numbers may shift, but based on how each candidate’s core constituencies align, a blow-out win is not foreseen for any one candidate, a close finish is foreseen on Election Day, May
At the last council meeting, councilor Cary Africk proposed hiring a consultant to study the assisted living project further. That proposal failed 4-2. Many Baristanet readers have questioned the Church Street location and mayoral candidate Harvey Susswein has strongly opposed the project.