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David Catania‘s mayoral bid may not be as hopeless as a previous poll suggested. After lagging 17 percentage points behind rival Muriel Bowser in a NBC4/Washington Post poll taken last month, Catania purportedly is just 8 points behind Bowser in a private group’s poll taken earlier this month.
In the poll commissioned by pro-business nonprofit Economic Growth D.C., Bowser receives 35 percent of the vote, while Catania has 27 percent. Carol Schwartz received just 11 percent of the 1,023 respondents, while 27 percent were undecided. The poll, embedded below and first reported by the Post, has a +/- 3 percent margin of error.
Catania’s more favorable numbers in this new poll don’t necessarily mean that his debate performance and puppets have swayed new voters. Instead, Economic Growth D.C. came up with a different sample than the NBC4 poll, focusing on “supervoters” instead of likely voters.
In the poll, “supervoters” are defined as anyone who voted in the mayoral primary or general election in 2010, or anyone who has registered to vote since then. Respondents also had to consider themselves at least somewhat likely to vote.
“We just thought that it could be a little more accurate,” Dave Oberting, the group’s executive director, says.
Oberting’s gripes with the NBC4 poll echo the Catania campaign’s, whose own poll put Catania 3 percentage points behind Bowser. The Bowser and Catania campaign didn’t respond to immediate requests for comment.
At the same time, though, Economic Growth D.C.’s poll deserves its own criticism. Its sample was 53 percent white and just 42 percent African-American. In a city where African-Americans both make up a plurality of residents and are more likely to support Bowser, sampling them less than whites could mean more favorable poll results for Catania.
The poll contains at least one bit of good news for Bowser, though: likability. Sixty percent of respondents rated Bowser favorably, compared to just 55 percent for Catania and 51 percent for Schwartz.
Update, 4:00 p.m.: As you might expect, Catania campaign manager Ben Young prefers his own campaign poll, which puts Catania at just 3 percent behind Bowser.
“Undecideds are going to break toward our direction, and we’re going to win in 34 days,” Young says.