Brandon Scott, Baltimore’s Democratic nominee for mayor, has nearly two-thirds of likely voters’ support, according to a poll commissioned by Scott and obtained by WYPR. The poll asked voters both where they stand in November’s general election race and what priorities they want the next mayor to tackle.
The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, found Scott with 65% of the vote, Independent Bob Wallace with 14% and Republican Shannon Wright with 6%. The Democratic firm surveyed 400 likely November 2020 General Election voters in Baltimore from Sept. 4 to Sept. 6. The voters were both Republicans, Democrats, Independents and reflect Baltimore’s November electorate. The margin of error is ±4.9%. Polls commissioned by campaigns tend to paint rosier pictures of their candidates than polls commissioned by neutral parties.
The mayor’s race findings are in line with Baltimore’s political makeup: blue voters outnumber red voters by nearly 10 to 1, and the citywide Democratic primaries are generally considered to be tantamount to winning the general election.
The poll also asked voters what they want the next mayor to tackle most urgently; it found near-unanimous agreement that November's winner should focus on improving public schools, protecting public health during the coronavirus pandemic, lowering crime and bringing the economy back after the pandemic subsides.
Scott’s campaign manager Marvin James said the policy data will allow transition teams to use voters’ concerns as a clear mandate.
“What it helped us do is signal to not only the council president, but to the incoming council president, the incoming comptroller and the city council members, where we should be leveraging our resources,” James said.
In a statement, Wallace said he will continue to focus on his campaign platform of more jobs and $1 billion in investments in Baltimore, and that the continued failures of current leadership are apparent.
"People are fed up with the political posturing and sense of entitlement by those who have spent their careers in City Hall," he said. "We don’t need a poll to tell us that people are fed up with nearly 2,500 murders in the last 10 years, countless shootings, robberies, carjackings and more along with a declining population and tax base and businesses shuttered across the city."
"I’m excited to continue on this journey to show people exactly how we can grow Baltimore’s economy, uplift the people of the city, and restore our standing as a great American city because that is what we truly are," the statement continued.
Wright did not respond to a request for comment.
The poll also asked voters about Baltimore’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. About 65% of voters said the city administration has gotten it about right, while 22% said they hasn’t done enough. About 10% said the city has overreacted.
The poll asked voters to rewind to June, when Mayor Jack Young announced that Baltimore would move into phase 2 of reopening and say whether they supported or opposed the decision. About 76% supported phase 2, while 23% opposed it.
And when it comes to reopening the state, 78% of poll respondents said they preferred a cautious opening while about 20% said they preferred an aggressive approach.
Pollsters read positive descriptions of each candidate before asking voters, “If the general election for Mayor of Baltimore were today and the candidates were Democrat Brandon Scott, Independent Bob Wallace, and Republican Shannon Wright, for which candidate would you vote?” If voters were undecided, they were asked which way they lean.
Brandon Scott - 62%; with 61% of white voters and 62% of Black voters
Lean Brandon Scott - 3%; with 2% of white voters and 4% of Black voters
Bob Wallace - 11%; with 10% of white voters and 13% of Black voters
Lean Bob Wallace - 2%; with 3% of white voters and 2% of Black voters
Shannon Wright - 5%; with 8% of white voters and 3% of Black voters
Lean Shannon Wright - 1%; with less than 1% of white voters and 1% of Black voters
Undecided/refused: 16%, with 16% of white voters and 15% of Black voters
Scott (NET) - 65%; with 63% of white voters and 66% of Black voters
Wallace (NET) - 14%; with 14% of white voters and 15% of Black voters
Wright (NET) - 6%; with 8% of white voters and 3% of Black voters
Voters were asked, “Now I am going to read some issues on which the mayor could focus, and I'd like to know how much of a priority you think each one is for Baltimore. In your opinion, is [ITEM] be a major priority, a minor priority, or not a priority? [IF MAJOR] Should it be the top priority?”
James, Scott’s campaign manager, said the policy portions of the poll are “about setting up the next mayor to walk through the door and know where the voters stand.”
Top crime priorities
Voters were also polled on the specifics of crime reduction. They were asked, “As you may know, reducing crime is a top priority for the next Mayor. Which of the following should be the top priority for Baltimore Police?”
Scott campaign platform issues
Scott’s campaign also used the poll to ask voters about two issues on the Democrat’s mayoral platform: reversing racial inequity and building new youth centers.
Voters were asked, “As you may know, Baltimore City has committed to reversing years of racial inequality caused by government policy and may prioritize funding for Black neighborhoods that have had less economic development. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose this decision? Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat?"
Voters were asked, “As you may know, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks has a plan to build a new Youth Sports Complex. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose the construction of such a facility? Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat?”
Baltimore and Maryland's response to the coronavirus pandemic
Voters were asked, “When it comes to the city of Baltimore's current response to the coronavirus pandemic, do you think they are not doing enough, getting it about right, or overreacting?"
Voters were asked, “As you may know, in June the mayor announced Baltimore would move into phase two of reopening businesses and services, which will allow churches, retail stores, personal services like salons, fitness, centers, and child services and other places of gathering to begin reopening with limited capacity. Based on what you know, do you support or oppose this decision? Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat?”
Voters were asked, “As the state considers how to move forward reopening businesses and services in the coming weeks, which of the following do you think is the better approach?”