Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn won election in 2009 in large part on the enthusiasm and volunteer strength of young voters impressed by his commitment to ending global warming, stopping the Highway 99 tunnel and accelerating planning for a network of light rail and streetcar connections through the city.
But there are signs that his support among young voters is waning. A new poll out today showed Murray with 52 percent support compared to 28 percent for McGinn. Among voters 18 to 29, just 20 percent supported the mayor while 53 percent favored Murray. Some 27 percent were undecided. Voters in the 30 to 45 year old range were slightly more pro-McGinn with 29 percent supporting the mayor and 45 percent supporting Murray.
A caveat, though: the poll sample included just 9 percent of voters in the 18 to 29 year old range, a significant undercounting since voters under 30 make up 20 percent of Seattle registered voters.
The poll was conducted last week by Public Policy Polling out of North Carolina and surveyed 570 Seattle voters. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The survey was commissioned by Washington Conservation Voters, which has endorsed Murray.
The poll comes a week after a group of nightlife industry leaders, most of whom had supported McGinn four years ago, announced that they were backing Murray this time around, saying he was a more effective politician and less “alienating.” Murray also attracted many young supporters though his leadership on the campaign to legalize gay marriage in 2012
McGinn did well among younger voters in the August primary election. A precinct analysis of results in the Seattle mayor’s race showed McGinn running strongest in the youngest neighborhoods while Murray did better in older parts of the city, according to an analysis by Seattle Times reporter Justin Mayo. Mayo looked at primary voter registration data and compared that to the precinct results across the city.
In precincts McGinn won by at least 40 percent, the typical voter was 11 years younger than in precincts Murray won by the same margin. The median age of voters in precincts that heavily favored McGinn was 46 years old. That compares to a median age of 57 in those precincts that heavily favored Murray.
There was less of an age gap in precincts that candidates won regardless of the margin — 50 years old for McGinn versus 58 years old for Murray.
Primary voters tend to be older than those that vote in general elections. For the mayor’s primary, the median age of all voters was 55 years old, with 24 percent under 40. Among all registered voters in Seattle, the median age is 44 and about 42 percent are under 40.