Loose Lips

Gray Leads Post Poll With Just 24 Percent

Vince Gray has twice as many voters as his closest rival in a new poll out from the Washington Post today, which shows an electorate split among eight candidates. Here's how Gray compared to his rivals in the poll, conducted from Jan. 9 to Jan. 12:

  • Vince Gray: 24 percent
  • Muriel Bowser: 12 percent
  • Jack Evans: 11 percent
  • Tommy Wells: 11 percent
  • Vincent Orange: 9 percent
  • Andy Shallal: 5 percent
  • Reta Lewis: 1 percent
  • Christian Carter: 1 percent
  • No one/none: 12 percent
  • No opinion: 11 percent

The numbers change when the poll considers likely voters, although not beyond the margin of error. Gray's total swells to 27 percent, Evans takes 13 percent, and Bowser and Wells both pull 12 percent. Orange's total falls to 7 percent*, Shallal stays at 5 percent, Lewis has 2 percent, and Carter stays at 1 percent.

Gray earned good ratings from respondents on crime (55 percent approval), attracting new business (68 percent approval), and the general direction of the city (59 percent approval). But 43 percent of respondents said the corruption in Gray's 2010 campaign would be a "major factor" in their vote.

Gray campaign manager Chuck Thies blames the disconnect between voters' high opinion of Gray's mayoralty and his comparatively meager 24 percent share of the vote on—all together now, gang—the media and Gray's opponents obsessing over the 2010 campaign.

“This mayor could cut a ribbon in front of an orphanage, and you would find a way to fit 2010 into the narrative,” Thies tells LL.

Rival Wells says he's not discouraged by the poll, which shows him statistically tied for second between Bowser and Evans. "It’s between me, Jack, and Muriel," says Wells, adding that he'd be "devastated" as an incumbent if he only pulled 24 percent of the vote. (LL can't help pointing out that technically, it's between Wells, Evans, Bowser, "no one" and "no opinion.")

The poll should also delight At-Large Councilmember David Catania, who's mulling an independent mayoral run after the Democratic primary. Gray's approval rating on public schools came within the margin of error of his disapproval rating—and that's exactly the issue Catania, the chair of the D.C. Council's education committee, has been hitting the mayor on.

Thies wouldn't comment on the general election polling, calling the race "hypothetical." But, according to former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, who's chairing Catania's exploratory committee, it might not be that way for long.

“I think he’s leaning very strongly toward running," says Ambrose, adding that today's poll results make Catania even more likely to run.

Update, 3:30 p.m.: Catania tells LL that the Post poll's results were "encouraging."

"They indicate that should I choose to run for mayor this year, the race will be very competitive," he says.

* Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post originally misstated Vincent Orange's total in the poll of likely voters. It is 7 percent, not 9 percent.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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