5 Weeks Till Fresno Mayoral Primary, Perea and Brand Positioned to Advance to General Election Runoff
Henry R. Perea leads the 5-candidate open-primary contest for Mayor of the city of Fresno CA, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for KFSN-TV. But if Perea does not receive a majority of the vote on 06/07/16 (50% plus 1 vote), the top 2 finishers will advance to an 11/08/16 runoff.
At this hour, it’s Perea 36%, Lee Brand 24%, H Spees 13%, Doug Vagim 6%, and Richard Renteria 3%. 18% of likely primary voters are undecided, which is material to the primary finish. If the 18% of voters who are undecided today break proportionally across all 5 candidates, Perea would finish with 44% of the vote — short of a majority. Perea would need to receive 3 out of every 4 undecided votes to win the primary outright and avoid a runoff.
Perea is backed by 6 of 10 Latino voters. Perea and Brand split the white vote, each candidate with 29%. Brand runs strong among the oldest voters, where he creeps to within 5 points of Perea. The older the 06/07/16 primary electorate is, the better Brand will perform. The younger the primary electorate, the better Perea will perform.
Perea and Brand run almost even among those likely Fresno voters who say the city is well managed. Among voters who say the city is not well managed, Perea leads by 17 points. Among voters who say crime is the most important issue facing the city, Perea and Brand are tied. Perea leads in single digits among voters who say that gangs or economic development are the most important city issues. Perea leads in double digits among voters who say that homelessness is the city’s most important issue.
Brand leads Spees 39% to 23% among voters who say they are strong Republicans. Brand leads Spees 43% to 17% among voters who say they are Republicans. Perea leads Spees 71% to 4% among strong Democrats. Perea leads Spees 62% to 10% among Democrats. Moderates and independents choose Perea.
Even if Brand were to overtake Perea in the primary, the same 2 candidates would advance to the general election, though Brand would have more of a tailwind. To overtake Perea, Brand needs wealthy Freno voters — among whom he narrowly leads — to be a larger percentage of the electorate than the 32% SurveyUSA herein forecasts, and he needs Republicans (and strong Republicans) to be more than the 41% of the electorate that SurveyUSA forecasts here.
Compared to a SurveyUSA KFSN-TV poll conducted 8 weeks ago, before Vagim and Renteria entered the race, Perea had led Brand by 19 points. Today, Perea leads Brand by 12 points. Vagim and Renteria combine for 9% of the vote.
The city of Fresno Mayoral Primary will coincide with the state of California presidential primary, also to be held on 06/07/16. If the Republican nomination fight has not been settled by that date, and if the Democratic nomination fight has been settled by that date, Republicans may vote in larger numbers than Democrats in the statewide primary. It is unclear to what extent this would affect the Fresno Mayoral Primary, but these survey results suggest that such a scenario would favor Brand. At the same time, there is an open primary for United States Senator from California on 06/07/16, and turnout for that statewide primary may also be a tail that wags the city of Fresno dog.
About: SurveyUSA interviewed 750 city of Fresno registered voters using voter-list sample (also known as “RBS” sample) from Aristotle of Washington DC. Of the registered voters, SurveyUSA determined that 571 were likely to vote in the 06/07/16 open, non-partisan primary. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (87% of registered voters) were interviewed on their home telephones in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (13% of registered voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Sitting Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin is term limited. Swearengin won election in 2008 by defeating Henry R. Perea’s son, Henry T. Perea.