Familiar Face Longwell Has Slight Advantage Over Fresh-Face Wiliams in Race for Open-Seat of Wichita Mayor
Wichita City Council Member Jeff Longwell appears to have a slight advantage over political newcomer Sam Williams in the race to replace Mayor Carl Brewer, who is term limited. Today, as early voting begins, and 2 weeks until votes are counted, it’s Longwell 42%, Williams 35%, with 22% of the most likely voters still undecided.
Longwell leads among both men and women and, though narrowly, leads in all age groups. Self-identified Republicans back Longwell by 4 points, but self-identified conservatives back Williams by 5 points, so the “political right” is not of one mind. Democrats back Longwell by 9 points. Moderates back Longwell by 5 points. Independents back Longwell by 10 points.
Williams, a businessman, out-polls Longwell 2:1 among voters who see Job Development as the city’s largest priority (44% to 23%). And, Williams ties Longwell among the city’s most affluent voters. The wealthier the electorate, and the more motivated the electorate is by job development, the better Williams will do. But: Longwell leads 2:1 among voters who are focused on Infrastructure, leads 3:1 among voters focused on property tax rates, and leads narrowly among voters focused on spending.
Also on the city ballot is an initiative to decriminalize marijuana. It is unclear whether this initiative will attract to the polls non-traditional voters who do not typically vote in a off-year municipal election. Based on SurveyUSA’s best read of the electorate, “Yes,” to decriminalize marijuana, leads “No” 45% to 39%. The youngest voters back decriminalization 5:4. The oldest voters oppose decriminalization 4:3. Republicans and conservatives oppose. Democrats and moderates support.
Those who oppose decriminalization fear that permissive marijuana laws will lead to more serious drug use. Those who support decriminalization say that marijuana use is not a serious offense.
About: Cell-phone respondents and home-phone respondents were included in this research. SurveyUSA interviewed 1,000 city of Wichita adults 03/18/15 through 03/23/15. Of the adults, 873 were registered to vote in the city. Of the 873 registered voters, 501 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote on or before Election Day. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device.