Two new polls show candidates are neck-and-neck in both the San Jose mayor's race and the battle for Silicon Valley's 17th Congressional District seat. But, as expected, not everyone agrees on the numbers.
The first poll, commissioned last week by Sam Liccardo's campaign and released Monday, has Liccardo and county Supervisor Dave Cortese suddenly tied in the mayor's race, though the pool of undecided voters increased since the last survey in August. A survey of 400 likely San Jose voters, conducted by pollster Jim Moore, has Liccardo and Cortese in a dead heat at 30 percent each, with 40 percent of voters undecided. The margin of error: 5 percentage points.
The number of undecided voters jumped by 15 percent since the previous poll in mid-August.
"You would think, with all the hit pieces going back and forth, that negatives on both these candidates would have increased, but they haven't,” Moore told San Jose Inside. "Voters are just pulling back and not judging anything.”
Moore's company, JMM Research, has previously conducted polls for Santa Clara County's Measure A sales tax in 2012 and Measure B transportation taxes back in 1992. The firm has also carried out polls for Gov. Jerry Brown, state senator-turned county supervisor Joe Simitian and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto).
Liccardo’s camp declined to provide the full poll to San Jose Inside but touted the new figures as showing the San Jose councilman has made a dramatic climb since the primary.
“All the momentum is with us,” campaign manager Ragan Henninger boasted in a newsletter blasted out Monday.
Cortese’s team, however, dismissed the numbers as hype.
“It looks like political spin to me,” Cortese spokesman Vince Rocha told San Jose Inside. “I think for us, we don’t need the spin. We’re focused on talking to the voters about public safety in San Jose, so we can lead the only poll that matters, the one on Nov. 4.”
The second poll released this week apparently shows Ro Khanna has caught up to seven-term incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) in the D-17 race.
The survey reached out to 400 likely voters in the South Bay congressional district Oct. 8 and 9, according to David Binder Research, which conducted the poll on behalf of the Khanna campaign. The results reportedly have the candidates even at 38 percent, with 24 percent undecided and a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Khanna's campaign said the 37-year-old patent attorney has moved up from just 5 percent in a polls conducted last year to a tie in the past month. Part of the recent momentum has been attributed to the candidates' only televised debate held last week. The poll suggests Honda has dropped nearly 20 percentage points in the last year and a half. Read the full text of the poll here.
Honda's campaign dismissed the numbers, saying they don't match up. A Democratic polling firm hired by Honda's campaign released its own poll showing the incumbent up by 15 points. You can read the abridged poll questions here (the Honda campaign didn't release the full script).
"Even after millions of dollars spent on Khanna’s behalf, voters in the 17th Congressional District continue to stand behind Mike Honda’s record of effective service, while Khanna struggles to connect with voters," Honda pollster David Mermin, of Lake Research Partners, announced Monday.
Lake Research is the same firm that predicted a sure victory for embattled ex-Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi in her race earlier this year for the 10th Senate District. But Hayashi finished a distant third in the June primary—leaving her out of the runoff.
Khanna's campaign noted that Honda may have fallen back in the polls because of a San Jose Inside investigation that showed the congressman's chief-of-staff, Jennifer Van der Heide, violated ethics laws by coordinating campaign efforts with official staff work.
Honda was forced to respond, saying he was "disappointed" in his staff and that Van der Heide had apologized. Khanna's supporters filed a complaint against Honda, who has said he welcomes an investigation by the House Ethics Commission.