Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s electoral speedometer is stuck in the 30s.
He took 30 percent of the vote in the first head-to-head poll (a KING-5/SurveyUSA poll released Monday) with mayoral challenger Ed Murray, who had 52 percent. It’s also remarkably similar to McGinn’s approval ratings in poll after poll since 2011. On a quick read, I’ve seen his approval ratings in various polls at:
- 28 percent (March 2011)
- 33 percent (February 2012)
- 32 percent (May 2012)
- before twice edging up to 37 percent (March and May, 2013).
The trend line is useful because any one poll, especially early in a municipal election, should be read cautiously. I don’t expect McGinn to remain stuck at 30 percent against Murray. Nor does Murray, whose spokesperson, Sandeep Kaushik wrote in an emailed statement:
While it is great to see numbers like this, and while we do think that Seattle voters are responding positively to Ed’s message of providing effective, collaborative, progressive leadership (as opposed to the current divisive approach from Mayor McGinn), we also anticipate the race to be significantly closer than these numbers would indicate.
At a news conference on Monday, McGinn agreed, according to Seattle Times news post by reporters Jim Brunner and Lynn Thompson.
McGinn downplayed the numbers, saying they don’t reflect his support among communities of color and low-wage workers. ”This is why you run races,” McGinn said. “At the end of the day, it will be the voters who make the decision.”
McGinn is a better campaigner than he is a mayor, and is masterful at energizing his base of young and progressive voters. But with seven weeks to the general election, it would be a historic feat to break through his 30-something electoral glass ceiling and get 50 percent.