Loose Lips

Claiming Underrepresentation in Polls, Shallal Campaign Releases Its Own

Screen Shot 2014-03-06 at 4.50.47 PM

The evidence

Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal has had a tough time so far in the mayor's race, never receiving more than 6 percent in two public polls. But now his campaign thinks they've hit on the reason he's doing so badly: the polls are undercounting his supporters!

Shallal's campaign claims that both the January Washington Post poll and the February NBC4/WAMU poll undercounted Shallal support in wards 7 and 8 and among former convicts. To counter that alleged deficiency, Shallal's campaign released their own poll yesterday—but instead of conducting of a phone poll, they asked people at last Saturday's Ward 7 Democrats debate who they'd be voting for.

It's kind of like when Muriel Bowser's campaign reacted to poor poll results by releasing their own poll, but even less scientifically rigorous. The campaign says the results, which show Vince Gray leading in his home ward with 95 votes and Shallal second with 58 votes, constitute "troubling news" for Gray and Bowser.

“It’s just like your straw polls, right?" says campaign spokesman Dwight Kirk. "People show up, they vote their preferences, but it’s not scientific, it’s just a preference.”

Beyond the obvious, there's another reason to be distrustful of Shallal's poll translating into real momentum: The Ward 7 debate crowd didn't seem to really like him. After a man in the audience pointed out that Shallal's often-stated desire to open a Busboys location east of the river hasn't actually resulted in one opening up, the crowd, with encouragement from Gray, shouted down much of the restaurateur's closing statement.

Graphic courtesy Shallal campaign

  • rotfl

    LMAO please, stop!!!! Yo you can't make this stuff up. Only in DC. Please stick to the restaurant business sir. Andy is an unrealistic candidate that just says what a crowd wants to hear and it's getting old.

    He should bow out gracefully and spare himself the embarrassment on election night.

  • Kevin

    I haven't decided if I'll vote for him but Shallal is certainly a serious candidate. What's more, he's bringing actual job-creating experience and a number of very creative ideas to address our city's problems.

    I'm a fan.

    To "rotfl": Shallal "just says what a crowd wants to hear"? Have you heard ANY of the other candidates. Be honest, whose campaign are you working on? Or did Gray just get you a city job?

    P.S. - Anyone but Gray or Bowser. Please!

  • Tight Lips

    Andy Shallal was doomed the moment he responded to the crowd when they asked why there isnt a Bus Boys & Poet East of the River.

    Mayor Gray talks about all the changes he has made to the city, however none of those changes are impacting EOTR.

    Shallal got caught trying to talk his trash and the crows wasnt having it.

    The only thing that separates Shallal and Gray is that Gray is from EOTR, so they will always give him a pass despite not providing for that side of town.

  • NeedASchool

    So there was a exit poll at the Ward 7 Democrats debate and these were the findings? That sounds fine to me.

    And that sounds much better than these straw polls at debates where voters are asked to vote BEFORE the debate and the big money candidates just bus in a bunch of senior citizens and stack the deck. Yet THOSE numbers are reported by Sommer and others as legitimate and scientific. SMH.

  • Will Sommer


    If you think I've treated straw poll results as "scientific," you need to read my stories again.



    Will Sommer seems bored and he seems to enjoy picking on progressives. Why didn't he mention the results from the DC Latino/Asian straw poll that said Gray won the endorsement and that there were only 4 votes for Bowser and Wells? Shallal doing well in Ward 7 should come at no surprise. His policy's would benefit those living EOTR.

  • Typical DC BS

    Please - Shallal is a joke. What policies that he supports would benefit Wards 7 & 8?

  • Agree with Kevin

    I'm already joining the Catania bandwagon. *sigh* I wish DC already had open primaries or a run-off system.

  • SEis4ME

    Mayor Gray talks about all the changes he has made to the city, however none of those changes are impacting EOTR.

    Well damn and here I was thinking there Walmart was a change that impacts East End.


    Hey, Typical DC BS, you're clearly living under a rock and aren't following the mayoral debates, so your time will probably be spent studying the candidates. Shallal is the most progressive candidate in the race.

  • noodlez


  • Northwesterneer

    Mayor Gray has made no change to the City AT ALL. However, he did allow many Adrian Fenty projects to complete, including Wal-Mart and other Fenty projects.

  • Saywhat

    One Resturant in Ward 7 speaks volumes and there were 3 Councilmembers living in Ward 7. Enough said!

  • Typical DC BS

    Hey DC Vote - you obviously forget what country you live in. Far left wing morons like Shallal are anathema to most folks with a modicum of intelligence.

  • Pachamama

    Muriel Bowser?

    The aptly named Ms. Bowser voted against the Large Retailer Responsibility Act (LRRA), which would have required WalMart and other big-box stores to pay their employees (most of whom are part-time) $11.75/hour instead of the $8.25 they still pay them. That's $16,500/year if they work full-time - try raising a family on that in DC. And then she voted against nullifying Grays veto of the LRRA.

    Jesus said, "As you do unto the least of mine, you do also unto me." If he were alive today and living in DC,it's safe to say that Jesus would NOT vote for the Bowser.

  • DCkat

    I see two different general perspectives being covered here: one makes an effort at thoughtful and fair-minded commentary; the other spews a lot of predictable inflammatory phrases.

    I'm tired of this pervasive belief that we should base our vote on a candidate's "electability". I'm tired of elections being treated like sporting events, where you gain something if "your" team wins. A bet? Prestige? Reflected glory? The thought of other drivers grinding their teeth when they see your team's bumper sticker? It's as if we're supposed to feel diminished, somehow, if our candidate loses. Conversely, that means if our candidate wins, we are validated, we can breathe easy knowing we don't stand out from the herd. See! We're not kooks! So much for that vaunted American "individualism".

    I'm tired of the media feeding me a constant diet of analysts and experts who insist on narrowing down the field to a few candidates (almost always two) and then focusing on the differences between them, painting these anointed ones as polar opposites and then acting like they encompass a whole universe of ideas and beliefs and goals. In reality, they're almost always cut from the same cloth - again, just like a football game where the teams can only be differentiated by the color of their uniforms.

    Forget winnability! Andy has courage and conviction. Though many voters agree with him, publicly championing progressive values and advocating for the common wealth has become taboo.

    Seventy or eighty years ago Shallal would've been considered a moderate. Hell, forty or fifty years ago he would've barely registered as a progressive. It's just that the increasingly outlandish proposals we hear from right wing extremists (who old time conservatives would disown) have steadily inched the compass needle in one direction, and now it's seriously skewed.

    If Andy doesn't win, I don't consider my vote wasted. Far from it! My vote won't bring a win to "the lesser evil" nor defeat the greater one. So I'm going to use it for something a lot more important. I'm going to use it to say something about what kind of candidate I want.

    If enough other people feel the same, then maybe he WILL win. If he doesn't, then maybe next time, more candidates like him will consider running.

    On the other hand - and I'm not talking specifically about this election, but about this one and the many elections to come - if voters (excluding the Fox heads, who are lost in any event) rely on blow-by-blow accounts from people who get paid to generate excitement and just generally treat this as a spectator sport, everything will be status quo. DC will retain its reputation as a stodgy, confused place that's steeped in corruption, instead of being known as an interesting, livable city led by people with vision and integrity.