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Playing with the numbers finds little help for Fenty

Tim Craig

Vincent C. Gray's 17-point lead over incumbent Adrian M. Fenty in a recent Washington Post poll has left many observers wondering what it would take for the mayor to prevail in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.

Well, assistant Washington Post polling analyst Kyle Dropp has been playing with some scenarios, but he didn't find many paths to success for Fenty, based on the poll results.

In one scenario, Dropp matched the results by ward to turnout rates by ward in 2006, when Fenty swept every precinct in the city.

He found that Gray would still lead Fenty 52 percent to 38 percent among likely voters with 6 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting another candidate. Even if all the undecided respondents in the Washington Post poll voted for Fenty, Gray would still be ahead by 8 points, 52 percent to 44 percent among likely voters.

But it should be noted that it would be highly unlikely for all the undecided voters to move toward Fenty, because six in 10 undecided voters are African Americans, a demographic group that favored Gray in the poll by a margin of 64 percent to 19 percent.

In another scenario, Dropp wanted to see what would happen if Fenty succeeds in mobilizing his base in Northwest Washington to get more engaged in the election while Gray's get-out-the-vote effort falls short.

Based on the poll results, if turnout in Fenty strongholds in wards 2 and 3 in Northwest Washington is 10 percent higher on Primary Day than in was in 2006, and turnout in Gray strongholds in wards 7 and 8 was 10 percent lower than four years ago, Gray would still beat Fenty by 10 points, Dropp found.

By Tim Craig  |  September 3, 2010; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
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Next: Sierra Club Endorses Gray


Dear Vincent Gray:

New stadium for D.C. United NOW!

Lot 8


Posted by: bs2004 | September 3, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Gray supporters. Get out the votes. I voted on Thursday.

Posted by: samvped205 | September 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Dear Vincent Gray,

Re-hire all the teachers.
Re-open all the schools.
Re-assign all the principals.
Expand preschool.
Expand and give more space to charters.*
Give more power to unions.*
Take more community input.**
Build more housing.

Don't raise taxes.
Don't cut services.

Oh, and balance the budget.

*While expanded charters and increased WTU influence might seem in conflict, they are not, as both groups dislike Fenty.
**In the event of conflicting community input, either please all sides or remain paralyzed with indecision until the problem goes away.

Posted by: horacemann | September 3, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

What if Fenty runs as an independent in the general election? What are his odds of winning then?

Posted by: pluperfectdc | September 3, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

If there is a 17% difference between the candidates and 35% of voteres are undecided, looks like the undecided can and will make all the difference in this election. Don't count Fenty out just yet. Also polls only get answers from those they reach by phone and that is a limited amount of the population.

Posted by: voter20 | September 3, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Voter 20: Fenty is going to loose. Face it.

Posted by: samvped205 | September 3, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Vote: You are assuming that all of the undecided are voting for Fenty.

As Tim Craig stated: "But it should be noted that it would be highly unlikely for all the undecided voters to move toward Fenty, because six in 10 undecided voters are African Americans, a demographic group that favored Gray in the poll by a margin of 64 percent to 19 percent."

Posted by: samvped205 | September 3, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

horacemann, it's quite obvious that you are not a fan of Fenty or Schools Chancelor Michelle Rhee, my only question for you is who did you vote for President and do you currently support President Obama??

Posted by: rj3743 | September 3, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Funny things happen to mayors who set taxicab rates.

Posted by: starclimber9 | September 3, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

stay with the leftist agenda and Washington can be no 1 on the worst 10 places to live list

Posted by: getsix1 | September 3, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone have some moving boxes that he/she could donate to the Fenty's ?

Posted by: ashafer_usa | September 3, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Voter20... Slowly now, if all the undecided voters actually vote for Fenty, he still loses by 8 points. The problem for fenty is that 6 of 10 undecided voters are African American. The other problem is, I personally do not know 6 African Americans who plan to vote for fenty, regardless of their SES. That said, when the Post conducted this poll, it's possible that most of the AA said they were undecided, when in fact they plan to vote for Vince Gray. AA don't trust the Post as much as they don't trust Fenty.

Posted by: DadofTwins | September 3, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

ashafer_usa, I hope you enjoy the moment if Fenty loses because the happy times will be short lived, crime will shoot up, the DC public school system will revert back to being the worst in the country and the rest of the nation will laugh and laugh and laugh at the residents of DC for voting for a guy that will be no differnt than Marion Barry. They say the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results and that is exactly what will happen if Vince Grey wins. Even if Grey wins the Democratic primary I would hope that Fenty would run in the general election as an independent because we simply cannot afford for Grey to win allowing him to get rid of Rhee, Lanier, etc. taking DC back to the days of Marion Barry. Lastly, I would remind all of the DC voters who are not supporting Fenty that a vote for Grey is in direct conflict with President Obama who is a big time supporter of both Fenty and President Obama wrong for supporting them??

Posted by: rj3743 | September 3, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

rj3743 - are you in private conversation with Obama? I haven't heard a peep from him about the DC mayor election and don't expect to. I think he's wise enough to stay out of it.

Posted by: efavorite | September 3, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Vital is for Mr. Gray to impose far stricter conflict of interest regulations for city government as soon as he takes power. Adrian Fenty appeared to be a handsome, well-spoken person of integrity. Unfortunately, the man is human. An ethics officer told me 80% of people steal 100% of the time, opportunity permitting. It's actually 100%. The 20% who don't steal put barriers in place to prevent situations bearing the opportunity to steal. Conflict of interest regulations protect both the public and the careers of the politicians they govern. If you don't think Mr. Fenty is finished, you have learned nothing.

Posted by: Martial | September 3, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Rj3743, you sound irrational and completely insane to put so much faith in one man. What happens if Fenty unfortunately has a heart attack, then dies. Will the magical spell he cast on the city no longer solve the crime and school problem?

I support Gray but even I don't believe his mere being is the only thing that will move this city forward. He could die as well. Gray has been a politician just as long as Fenty has. You seem to take issue with Gray's age not his positions.

Posted by: dcis1 | September 3, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

rj3473: When did Obama say he was a supporter of Fenty and Rhee? Did you hear him say that? If so, when and where?

BTW: I have a mind of my own. I don't base my vote on what others think. I weigh the facts for myself.

Remember God said in his word: "Put your trust in no man because Man will fail you." I know that for a fact. Therefore, I don't follow man.

Posted by: samvped205 | September 3, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Fenty already pissed Obama off... If you were paying attention, you'd know why.

Posted by: DadofTwins | September 3, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

RJ3743, please provide one substantive example of what you mean when you insist that we will all be transformed back to the "Days of Marion Barry," ooooooo, when Gray - that's grAy not GrEy - becomes mayor. Did that happen in 2006, after Marion ENDORSED King Fenty? So, give me one good reason why it would happen now.

Posted by: ssmd11 | September 3, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

If Gray wins, will he weed out all the Fenty 'team players' at the Office of Administrative Hearings?

Posted by: MrSoftee | September 3, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Shifty got his @@##$ ate up in the dabate this morning.

Posted by: bigheadbull2 | September 3, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

...and Mr. Gray, Caramel's a horse you don't want to be riding. Ask Mr. Mendeleivich.

Posted by: MrSoftee | September 3, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

@ rj3743

The President clearly "was" a Fenty supporter during the latter's first run for mayor. Where he stands now is anyone's guess. It's not like you have seen the president and mayor at any photo opps together (apart from perhaps the Indian state dinner). There have been no sightings of the two biracial men and the two Michelles.

As for happy times, we East of the River are waiting for them, courtesy of a Gray administration.

Posted by: TheHermit1 | September 3, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Fenty supporter, but I'm resigned to the likely fact that Gray will win. But if/when Gray wins, he's going to owe a lot of people a lot of favors. I predict that Rhee and Lanier both will be gone. I predict that there's going to be a lot more "programs" that someone's going to have to pay for, which means taxes will go up. I predict at least some, if not most or all, of the teachers Rhee canned will be rehired. I predict DC taxis will go back to a zone system (apparently Gray workers have been telling cabbies that he will reinstitute the incomprehensible zone system).

Let's all come back in 6 months and reevaluate the Gray choice.

God help D.C.

Posted by: Daffodil123 | September 3, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Well win Fenty came into office we had to be resigned to the fact that Janny and Ramsey were let go. Please keep in mind that they were hired under Williams not barry.

it seems that Fenty owed oops I meanwas blackmailed. How can you explaine trying to give $900k to thugnificant govt name Ron MotonN =lease see this weeks city paper for more info.

Posted by: thelildiva4u | September 3, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I dont know about any Obama Fenty relationship but the last thing I remember seeing in the news about our president and one of our elected officials was Obama and GREY enjoying a basketball game together at the Verizon Center. Anybody remember that? Anybody remember who WASNT at that game? Or rather, if he was, he was not near the two of them and they did not show him on camera or even bring his name up.... The man with his own box, otherwise known as Fenty. Grey and Obama looked pretty friendly to me.

Posted by: tformation1 | September 4, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

when Obama and family arrived there was lots of talk about the families being great friends as the result of having so much in common: Both men biracial (with black dads and white moms), both with wives named michelle (both women lawyers), both younger politicians and both had two kids (younger kids). However, I suspect that is where the similarities end. Intellectually, they are worlds apart. I left the city in 2006 to accept a senior executive position in Chicago. I remember laughing when I saw that Fenty was running thinking - DC residents must watch the city council hearings, televised, as I have. They have to know Fenty is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Well I turn around and he is mayor. I think voters let other things get in the way of really saying "this guy is not very smart." Fortunately, there is an opportunity to keep him out. I am voting early and for Gray.

Posted by: calvinstover | September 4, 2010 4:23 AM | Report abuse

Gray has been running a hate campaign against Fenty so you will not really look at Gray the candidate and say, what will you do if elected? At the same time Gray calls himself a uniter, one city?? Look at the Examiner to find out what Gray really did at DHS instead of the lies he told at the Channel 5 debate.

Posted by: voter20 | September 4, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Good work Kyle Dropp and we can see that you are no stranger to regression analysis and super-crunching. We love it.

We have been doing sort of a 'reverse' datamining on the articles, and the inserted comments WaPo has published as a lead for "countdown" fact-finding. After we got the narrow list of main issues of concern to voters irregardless of race, religion, creed, or sexual bias; we streamlined the comments of the candidates and matched those comments with either direct testimony or the official record.

When these have been played to voters in the field on iPads, the response has been amazing and certainly a lesson for future politicians.

Here is one of the 'NO SPIN' presentations we have been showing people which I encourage any undecided voters to look at and make a decision for themselves. YOU DECIDE:

Please vote responsibly.

Posted by: jobforce | September 4, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

The only thing Gray supporters need to do to win this thing is to get up, get out AND VOTE. With early voting centers opened all over the city, there is no valid reason for anyone not to exercise their voting rights.

I voted this morning at Hine Middle School and the process is very smooth.

I got there early so, though there were plenty of signs everywhere, the only candidate present was Vincent Orange.

What is evident to me, however, is that Gray supporters cannot take anything for granted. The Fenty Machine is going to throw everything they have at this election. We all know that AMF is not unaccustomed to dancing perilously on the edges of the law.

Again, do your part and VOTE!!!

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 4, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Get rid of Frenty DC needs to go back to the cocaine days of Barry, why go forward with improving schools the kids can make more as drug dealers.
Say no to progress, go back to corrupt politics, useless teachers, overpaid unions, and a DC govt that doesn't work.

UFB theres no hope in DC only dopey voters, thats why I moved.

Posted by: dannyboyrules | September 4, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: dannyboyrules | September 4, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

C'mon over to WARD 8, We're still shouting: " WE WANT GRAY"

Posted by: UptownHarlemBrown1 | September 5, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

Fenty cast his own loss in stone a while back.

DC is loaded with some of the smartest people in the world. How many run for office?

Before taking another whack at candidates, first take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you would vote for you and if you would ever consider rolling up your sleeves and stepping up to the plate.

Seriously. It's so easy to be an armchair mayor or any elected official.

Click. Back to the telly.

Posted by: EastofthePark | September 5, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Great job reasoning with data and explicit models, instead of just reporting factoids. Also for crediting your statistician; you can't have "modeled" those acts of analysis and collegiality on the Chancellor's.

If by the metric of test scores, DC is no longer the poorest performing large (or thinking large of itself) city school system, it is only because -- you can check this for veracity -- of the further decline of Detroit and Cleveland schools and their economies.

Fenty / Rhee could and should claim as much credit for the increase in public charter school enrollment, as it has continued to grow as rapidly as in preceeding years, 6-9% per year, while DCPS's has been flat. That's hardly evidence of confidence in Fenty / Rhee. Last year's Increase in DCPS enrollment was through the Gray-supported increase in Pre-K spaces.
With private quality child-care costing $10K per year, utilizing quality no-fee ECE in DCPS and charter schools is also no expression of confidence in either system. The white population has had a 40+ year history of enrolling children in DCPS for early grades, and then bailing out, just as large fractions of the AA population gave up on DCPS for charter schools and the suburbs.
Fenty's OSSE could tell us who is still bailing out DCPS and public charters, because they know which students, living where,and with what resources don't re-enroll. But, they won't tell us.

Posted by: incredulous | September 7, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

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