Poll Tests Negatives in Santa Clara County Supervisor Race

The race for Santa Clara County’s District 4 supervisor will pit an entrenched politician against a corporate shill. At least, those are the somewhat caricatured negatives being tested in a new poll in the contest between San Jose Councilman Don Rocha and San Jose Unified trustee Susan Ellenberg.

The survey was presumably commissioned by Ellenberg’s camp—though sources wouldn’t confirm that one way or the other—and asked prospective voters whether they’d be more likely to vote against a candidate after reading each prompt.

“Rocha is a career politician and does not have any substantial experience or education outside of politics,” one read. “Ellenberg is supported by corporate leaders and she will put their interests ahead of average citizens,” another said.

Some of the prompts took shots at Rocha’s voting record, asking how respondents felt about the councilman approving his own raise—something the council is responsible for doing under San Jose’s charter—or how they felt about him supporting “tiny homes” for the homeless and re-allocating unused public safety funding to cover other expenses.

Others fished for reaction about Ellenberg’s East Coast heritage and graduation from “an expensive, elite New York law school,” her relative lack of political experience or how she “used more than $120,000 of her personal wealth to buy the election in June.”

Much of the poll seems to stem from talking points that arose during the primary, including from instances in which candidates Dominic Caserta and Pierluigi Oliverio, respectively, touted their fourth- and second-generation roots in the district. Of course, that kind of messaging might not resonate as much as it used to, given the county’s increasingly diverse foreign-born and otherwise non-native population.

Though Fly was unable to ascertain which statements gained the most traction with voters, the survey offers a glimpse of what’s likely to end up on campaign mailers later on in the election cycle.

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The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

5 Comments

  1. > the survey offers a glimpse of what’s likely to end up on campaign mailers later on in the election cycle.

    Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Fly.

    My shredder is in good working order. I got the industrial model.

    Rocha? BBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPPP

    Ellenberg? BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    Slate mailer? BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    Dreamy photo of politician walking barefoot on the beach with jacket over shoulder?

    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    Picture of politician shoveling slop into the swill bowls of smiling moppets at the immigrant camp?

    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    Credit card application?

    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    Anything that’s not a check payable to me?

    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP
    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP
    BBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZIPPPP

    A good shredder is key to surviving democracy.

  2. Just tell us what you will do to improve our lives.
    Criticism without offering viable alternatives is useless.
    Neither of these two sounds so great. We look more like a bush league every day.

  3. He/she who has a small war chest, shows up and talks to voters face to face and is not a mailer is the best choice.

  4. All I got from this is that Susan Ellenberg invested $120,000 in herself so that she could have the opportunity to help others. That is literally putting your money where your mouth is…and it isn’t like she had more money than the others did. She didn’t get labor or union backing like the other guys did either. I will be voting for her again in the fall. As for the elite education, makes her sound even better to me.

    • Well since she paid for the survey it makes sense that she would be the one smelling like roses with what sounds to me to be humble brags.

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