City Councilman Eric Garcetti has moved into a double-digit lead in the Los Angeles mayoral race over his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, according to a new USC Sol Price School of Public Policy/Los Angeles Times poll.
The poll, which was distributed to 500 likely voters in the general election, indicates that Garcetti boasts a 10-point lead with the support of 50 percent of voters compared to Greuel’s 40 percent. The general election will be held on May 21.
Though Greuel would be the first female mayor of Los Angeles, if elected, the poll finds that she is trailing Garcetti among female voters. Garcetti has the support of 50 percent of female voters and 51 percent of male voters, compared with Greuel’s 41 and 38 percent, respectively.
“Greuel may be suffering from a Hillary Clinton problem,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Price/L.A. Times Poll and the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, in a statement to the press. “Clinton emphasized her qualities of strength and toughness to such a degree that it mitigated her gender advantage. The difference is that Greuel might still have the time to fix it.”
The poll also found that Garcetti leads among young voters, as well as white and Latino voters. Though the poll indicates that black voters are leaning toward Greuel, the poll acknowledged its sample size of black voters was too small to draw any firm conclusions.
The poll indicates that Greuel’s support from organized labor may also be hurting her election chances, as many voters view her as being tied to labor unions. When asked who the phrase “Cares more about unions representing city employees than Los Angeles as a whole” describes more, 46 percent of polled voters said Greuel, whereas only 26 percent said Garcetti.
Garcetti also won among voters as someone who represents all of Los Angeles, can make tough decisions and has a strong vision for L.A.
On the issues, voters trusted Greuel more to handle the budget and education but trusted Garcetti to handle crime, jobs and mass transit.
The poll also indicated that reforming pensions for public employees is a major concern for voters, with 34 percent of voters reported saying that it should be “one of the most important priorities” for the new mayor and 45 percent saying it should be “important, but not at the top of the list.”
“Pensions are important and can be indicative of a candidate’s values,” said Amy Levin, vice president of Democratic polling firm Benenson Strategy Group who conducted the poll, in a statement to the press. “But with an election at this level, it’s much more about voters and what is going on in their daily lives and what they want for their families than about city budgets.”