Close Race For San Diego Mayor

In Close Race For San Diego Mayor, Difference For David Alvarez May Be Latino Voters, Says New Poll

By David Iaconangelo | Jan 23 2014, 06:42PM EST | Latin Times

In the race for San Diego mayor, Democrat David Alvarez and Republican Kevin Faulconer are neck and neck, with the latest poll – from a firm hired by the county’s Democratic Party – giving Alvarez 46 percent of 526 voters surveyed, to Faulconer’s 45 percent. If Alvarez wins, he will become first Latino mayor of a border city where Latinos make up 20 percent of voters. And as a new poll from Latino Decisions and the Latino Victory Project found, it’ll be to a large extent because of his support among that demographic.

According to the new poll, Alvarez is beating Faulconer among Latinos by a 65-point margin, with 75 percent to 10 percent going for Alvarez. That itself might not be news, but in a race this close, what the two groups are claiming is potentially very relevant for those following it. As Latino Decisions notes, the same Public Policy Polling poll which put Alvarez a hair ahead of Faulconer said that his lead among Latinos was 63-28, making the margin 35 points instead of the 65 points which the Latino Decisions/Latino Victory Project attributed to Hispanic voters.

The group also said that last-minute voter outreach would likely prove critical, as only 37 percent of likely Latino voters said they had been contacted by a campaign or candidate thus far. “Historically Latino candidates for mayor have been successful in mobilizing and winning the Latino vote and this new poll demonstrates the same trend in San Diego,” said Matt Barreto, co-founder of Latino Decisions. “David Alvarez is overwhelmingly going to win the Latino vote and this could very well propel him to victory. The critical factor is going to be the rate of Latino mobilization and voter turnout. If Latino turnout is high, the data suggest Alvarez should win.”

UT-San Diego notes, however, that other polls indicate that the race actually isn’t so close, and that San Diego voters are favoring Faulconer. One Jan 12 poll from SurveyUSA on behalf of two local news organizations put Faulconer up 53 percent to 37 percent, while another poll commissioned by the Republican Party said Faulconer was up by 13 percent.