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Exclusive: New Poll Shows Good News for Nutter

10:00 AM ET, 01/19/2011

A new survey from Municipoll shows Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in good shape heading into the May Democratic primary.

Nutter leads a generic opponent by a 47%-39% margin. In a variety of hypothetical matchups, Nutter leads the second-highest vote-getter by at least 15%.

“Michael Nutter appears increasingly well-positioned to win a Democratic Primary Election, especially a multi-candidate race,” said poll director Ed Haggerty.

Municipoll surveyed 871 likely Democratic primary voters from January 12 to 16. The data were weighted slightly by gender and age. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3%.

“It suggests that Nutter would be tough to beat. But it also tells you that he’s not over 50%. I wouldn’t think that’s a great place for an incumbent to be. H’s been there, his name has been out there for four years,” said Sam Katz, who had been rumored as a potential challenger to Nutter before ruling it out in November.

Katz reiterated that he is not running for mayor, but said that this poll shouldn’t discourage others from taking a look.

“I don’t put much stock in a poll that’s taken in the absence of a campaign. Because as far as the public is concerned, there isn’t a campaign. There isnt a challenge, there isn’t a conversation about the direction of the city. There isn’t a comparison being made by other candidates.”

“If there is a campaign, if there is a conversation, I think it will produce a very close election,” Katz predicted.

There is another interesting caveat in the poll results. Nutter enjoys higher support from white Philadelphians than from African Americans (continuing a trend that is analyzed in a really excellent piece by Patrick Kerkstra in Philadelphia Magazine). 64% of whites have a favorable opinion of Nutter, compared to 52% of African Americans. Twice as many African Americans (16%) are not sure of their opinion of the Mayor as whites.

“Nutter’s strong support among white voters seems to turn Philadelphia’s usual racial politics on its head.  However, his lukewarm support among African-American voters raises questions as to why, after three years in office, Nutter still hasn’t consolidated support in this critical base constituency,” said Haggerty.

Hypothetical matchups

Nutter vs. generic Democratic primary opponent
Nutter: 47%
New Person: 39%
Undecided: 15%

3-way race featuring Anthony Williams, Bill Green and Nutter:
Nutter: 46%
Green: 21%
Williams: 18%
Undecided: 14%

3-way race featuring Anthony Williams, Sam Katz and Nutter:
Williams: 21%
Katz: 22%
Nutter: 44%
Undecided: 13%

In a free-for-all primary:
Nutter: 32%
Fattah: 17%
Brady: 11%
Evans: 10%
Katz: 8%
Undecided: 7%
Green: 6%
Williams: 5%
Knox 4%


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