The evidence
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