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LL has obtained a copy of a summary of the hotly contested David Catania campaign-sponsored poll, and it’s a doozy. While much is still unclear about the poll, including the questions and the demographics of the respondents, the numbers suggest a far more competitive mayor’s race has developed since Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser won April’s Democratic primary.
The Sept. 6 memo, addressed to Catania campaign manager Ben Young, summarizes the results of a poll conducted by pollsters at Clarity Campaign Labs, a Democratic firm based in D.C.
“Our survey finds that Councilmembers Muriel Bowser and David Catania are locked in a statistical dead heat,” Clarity partner Tom Bonier writes in the memo, embedded at the bottom of this post.
With a +/-3.05 percent margin of error, the poll purports to have Bowser at 28 percent in the poll of 1,052 voters. Catania follows Bowser within the margin of error with 25 percent, while former Councilmember Carol Schwartz received 14 percent.
The candidates’ numbers leave a significant 33 percent undecided in the memo, which describes the electorate as “still unsettled.”
Both the Catania campaign’s Young and Bowser campaign spokesman Joaquin McPeek declined to comment on the memo. In an email, Schwartz writes that she doesn’t know whether to trust a poll when she’s not sure whether it was “a push poll or a pure poll.”
Adding to the uncertainty about the state of the race, 35 percent of the poll respondents who backed a candidate said it was either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that they could decide to back another candidate.
On favorability ratings, the two candidates are roughly equal. While Clarity’s Bonier writes that Bowser “lags behind” Catania in the memo, she received a 56 percent favorable to 36 percent unfavorable rating, while Catania received a nearly identical 60 percent favorable to 30 percent unfavorable.
The one-page memo doesn’t include how the questions were phrased or respondents’ race, gender, or party affiliation. Still, even accounting for the missing variables in judging the poll and the Catania campaign’s role in financing it, the numbers suggest that Catania is doing much better than he was in late March, when a Washington Post poll put him more than 30 percentage points behind Bowser in a November race.