New Poll Shows Mahan, Chavez Neck and Neck for SJ Mayor

A poll released by the Matt Mahan mayoral campaign shows the two candidates for San Jose mayor are neck and neck in a tightening race. Cindy Chavez polled 1 point ahead of Mahan in the survey of 674 likely voters conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

“We feel good about our position in the race and we will continue to run a very aggressive grassroots campaign to bring our message of change and accountability to people throughout the city,” Mahan said Monday evening.

Mahan, a current city council member and former public school teacher and technology executive, faces county supervisor, former councilmember and labor council executive Cindy Chavez in the November general election for mayor of San Jose.

With two decades in public office, Chavez leads in name recognition—73% to 58%— and endorsements from political insiders. Mahan has cast his campaign as a “revolution of common sense” against politics as usual, which he says has failed to address rising crime and homelessness.

The FM3 poll showed Chavez leading slightly with 38% of the initial vote preference and Mahan with 37%. A quarter of the polled voters remain undecided. The pollsters said the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4%.

In the poll, conducted July 26- Aug. 1, respondents to the FM3 poll showed Chavez with a higher unfavorable rating. The margin between those who view the county supervisor favorably (41%) and unfavorably (32%) is in the single-digits.

For Mahan, 38% of voters view the council member favorably and 20% view him unfavorably.

When provided with generic descriptions of two potential candidates for mayor, a plurality of the respondents (44%) indicated more support for a candidate whose background matched Mahan’s, while 30% preferred Chavez’s profile as a labor leader and elected official.

The 22-person research firm with offices in Los Angeles and Oakland conducts hundreds of opinion surveys and focus groups each year, according to its website.

“Voters are particularly motivated by Mahan’s concrete plans to address homelessness, fight crime and bring accountability to city government,” Mahan’s campaign said in a statement.

Campaign filings showed that the Mahan campaign paid FM3, based in Oakland, $15,000 in June for polling.The poll was conducted between July 26 and Aug. 1 via telephone and online interviews in English and Vietnamese with randomly-selected likely November voters in San José.

The margin of sampling error for the study is plus-or-minus 4.0% at a 95% confidence level.


  1. Matt Mahan is the obvious choice for San Jose Mayor,
    unless you are just the normal uninformed voter,
    who votes on:
    name recognition,
    perceived identity grouping,
    or what some kick-back collecting union official or
    special interest group tells you.

  2. Mahan is the ONLY choice for Mayor.
    Cindy has had decades and this is what we got.
    Mahan for Mayor

  3. The San Jose Gaslight must have seen this poll –
    they just pushed another (of many) thinly veiled hit pieces trying to knock down support for
    Matt Mahan.

    More of the so-called “unbiased” SanJose Spotlight pushing questionable and blatantly targeted articles.

    Time to Term-Limit Out Cindy Chavez,
    and elect someone with
    New Energy, New Ideas, and Real World Experience.
    And that somebody is Matt Mahan.

  4. I don’t care for either candidate, but I’ve got to vote Mahan to vote against Chavez.

    Every time I see her mentioned in an article, I cringe at how she represents us now. I can only imagine the stupid things she would try as mayor.

  5. I am voting for Matt and Irene Smith for District 3. If Matt wins, I hope Matt restores many of the services we have lost under Liccardo and this council. For decades our council and Mayor have only focused on housing and business and of course housing for the homeless. I live in a high crime rate area and not much has changed for the underserved neighborhoods. Cindy as a supervisor has not addressed the fact that we need mental health facilities for the unhoused who cannot take care of themselves and are arrested then released within hours. She voted against a new jail that was going to have a mental health facility and because she pushed a no vote any new jail will cost us millions more. Our courts are backlogged and we don’t have enough teacher housing. VTA has problems and she never addresses them. She gives millions to causes that are not in the scope of the county using taxpayers money. Good example is Planned Parenthood and the Tampon issue where she gave a nonprofit one million dollars with no accountability. We don’t have enough county park rangers etc. She and the labor unions only think about themselves and not the good of the residents. She supports other candidates who have criminal history and are weak. If she wins she will have the council completely under her control and labor and business will be calling all the shots. Our city will go from bad to worse. We need new faces and people who are independent and a new generation of politicians.

  6. Yes it’s Matt Mahan time we need change, Matt is the right choice not Chavez we don’t want to go back to wrong road ahead of us. Chavez is not a good leader

  7. We need change. That’s why I’m proud to support Matt Mahan, who is supported by Sam Liccardo, the man who has been mayor for 8 years, and Chuck Reed, the man who was mayor for the 8 years beforehand. I’m tired of failed leadership! Decade after decade, San Jose has voted ineffectual politicians into office who have failed to confront our problems, and we can’t afford to listen to their empty promises anymore. That’s why I’m listening to 4 out of 5 living former mayors of San Jose who promise that Matt Mahan is the guy to make the right choices. People are sick of seeing the valley run by a clique of insider career politicians who all went to the same all-boys prep school, and who knows better how to stand up to those elites than one of their own!

  8. This poll was paid for by the Mahan campaign and was in English/Vietnamese but not Spanish. This poll should not be taken seriously.

  9. Finally, an intelligent and effective leader with a plan to put behind his principles. Matt has my vote!

  10. Are you kidding me? Mahan cannot be trusted to lead our city or “learn on the job”. Mahan has been driving a campaign of lies and scare tactics. His campaign has inundated my household with pie in the sky plans like:

    – “have the state divest health funding away from the County to the city.” Because the city has a hospital system right?
    – “don’t let Cindy become mayor because she will only side with the Latino vote and Vietnamese voters will be oppressed.” This is a Latino/Vietnamese household and my kids have to face this kind of hate every day, now it’s coming from a wannabe mayor.
    -“bill other cities for homeless people who show up on our streets.” Is that a resolution? Is that the best use of our resources to tag and bill the unhoused when we can be cleaning up and providing help? Will this plan put a target on the backs of the homeless?

    For those saying that they’re tired of failed leadership and is proud to support Mahan – he is backed by said failed leadership. The failed leadership that has fatigued you so believes he is the right choice because he will continue their failed leadership. I thought the point is not to fail. And please, let’s not “learn on the job” when the stakes are so high.

    I’ve been waiting for someone like Cindy to be Mayor. That is the true revolution where working poor, foster youth, seniors, and the vulnerable are prioritized in our community. These are the folks who don’t typically vote but that’s where Cindy has prioritized her policies because she does the right thing.

    Mahan volunteers/staff turn aggressive when I tell them, no thank you. They make claims and promise things that are based in hate and fear mongering. That tells me a lot about your leadership.

  11. This is a very contradictory and uninformed post.

    1. If you want change, Matt Mahan isn’t it. He is backed by the old leadership (Liccardo, Reed etc).
    2. Mahan went to an all-boys prep school, Bellarmine. Is he going to “stand up to those elites” or ask them for support because he’s “one of them”? Pretty sure it’s the latter.

  12. Cindy Chavez has had decades to help this city and what has been the result? Frankly nothing good. I have taken the time to learn about Matt’s leadership style and approach and find it refreshingly different than the status quo. San Jose needs change now! Matt has my vote.

  13. These posts saying Mahan is the problem, when its Cindy who has been running the place for decades…… you all sound Ridiculous.

  14. Go shill for the San Jose Gaslight somewhere else –
    about the only thing useful about the Spotlight is the comments section that provides a
    more relevant and clear-eyed view on what the public thinks of the special interest,
    non-profit and “New” entitlement program the Spotlight is trying to gaslight the public on.

  15. This actually sounds like a “push-pull” poll for Mahan. Chavez last served on the SJ City Council in 2006 yet she is being blamed for all of the failures of our government. That sure lets a bunch of elected officials in the subsequent 16 years off the hook for lackluster-to-bad governance. This includes our current mayor who is serving his 8th final year in at the helm after a previous 8 years on the City Council. Confirm no responsibility for screwing up the city? Pretty lucky that Liccardo and everyone else gets to skate. The fact that Mayor Liccardo is the only one of the 11 on the Council to endorse Mahan (save Mahan himself) speaks volumes.

  16. I’m voting for Matt Mahan because he is the voice for the people; not for special interests.
    Vote Matt Mahan for Mayor

  17. Carefully crafted poll got Matt the results he paid FM3 15k for. Play for play works every time! Now he has a free headline (oops 15k cost) headline. Smart to leave out Hispanics or is it?

  18. What does Matt Mahan graduating from Bellarmine have anything to do with elitism? He attended the school on a work-study scholarship, commuting everyday for four hours to earn an education. That is the exact opposite of elitism.

  19. How is constantly voting for career politicians working out for you? Stupid is as stupid does! Also, see Biden! Voting for the same thing and hoping for a different outcome is well you figure it out! I know Cindy, very nice person, but when has she really held a job outside of government or unions. It’s easy to be a liberal left winger when you are not paying for it! She defunded the Sheriff Department as a County Supervisor and is now kissing San Jose PD, ass! Promising them raises and funding! Saying they are short on cops, what a joke. I told all my family to vote for Mahan, never met him. Don’t need to after having several conversations with Cindy!

  20. Cindy Chavez sides with policies that result in defacto “Defund the Police” outcomes.

    Campaign “Promises” are one thing, but a clear record of who Cindy Chavez advocates for, and how her stances will impact our already dangerous, dirty, and crime ridden streets and parks exists.

    Chavez can say she wants to hire more Police but what is in print, over and over again, is her policies & votes that return Criminals to the Streets, over and over again.

    Think before you vote, but a vote for Cindy Chavez is
    Not for Safety,
    Not for Victims of crime, and
    Not for Effective Policing,
    at most it is union pandering (the Police Union) for some future ‘return’ to her,
    on her ‘investment’ of our tax dollars to meet their demands.

    Cindy Chavez, along with Susan Ellenberg, have been at the root of the increase in neighborhood crime, robbery, thefts, assaults, drug dealing, looting, shoplifting, vagrancy, public indecency, etc.
    They have continually advocated for policies making Police Work More Difficult,
    from $0 Bails, Revolving Door Jails and
    Release of felons and repeat criminals back into Our Communities,
    degrading the Quality of Life in Santa Clara County.

    (SJS, 22 Sep 2021) : “Ellenberg and Supervisor Cindy CHAVEZ recently asked the county attorney to explore ways to Reduce the Jail Population.”
    “Ellenberg, along with Supervisor Cindy Chavez, brought forth a proposal to explore ways to explore the criminal legal system, …. in an effort to reduce jail populations …”

    (SJS, 01 Nov 2021): Cindy Chavez prioritizes criminals over Victims.
    “Focusing on equity is essential…”
    “….priority is to invest in Community-Based Alternatives to the Criminal-Legal System and to continue to Reduce the Population of People who are (In Jail) Incarcerated (ie. $0 No Bail) – which is about 80% of the total population in custody.”

    (SJS, 25 Jan 2022): “The Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to construct a 500-inmate maximum security jail … Supervisors Susan Ellenberg and Cindy CHAVEZ Voted Against the new Jail.”

    “Defund the Police” is not only accomplished by cutting dollars from a budget,
    But, as observed nationally, by an exodus of Experienced Law Enforcement personnel by making the “work” of Policing Not Worth the Pay at Any Level.

  21. Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates (FM3)? Hmm…Where have we heard about this firm before? Oh, I know. They were the very same outfit commissioned by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) in May 2021 for another polling exercise. That one was to “gauge” public support for the massive downtown Google project. Former Campbell mayor and SVLG Vice President Jason Baker is quoted happy talking the results but fails to mention that Google is a member of the high-powered business lobby formerly headed by Carl Guardino on behalf of which he was speaking (

    The results were released in the week before the San Jose City Council vote on whether to approve that project. Of course, the poll showed overwhelming public support for the project or, rather, for the various claims about the project as put forward by Google, supported by the city government and as formulated in FM3’s questionnaire. Just days before the council vote, that poll was touted by current San Jose Chamber of Commerce CEO Derrick Seaver as proof of broad community support (

    Where else have we seen FM3’s work in recent years? Oh, right. They conducted a poll funded by the pop-up political action committee (PAC) and influence-peddling operation known as Innovation for Everyone ( That PAC was headed by none other than Carl Guardino with major funding from tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist billionaire Chris Larsen of Valley Oaks Partners designed to support candidates who are shills for corporate interests ( Unsurprisingly, that poll was very favorable to Mahan and unfavorable to his contenders.

    It should be noted that FM3 has for decades been involved in one way or another in the political campaigns of hundreds of mostly Democrat candidates all over the state and all over the U.S., among which are many nefarious career politicians who, through their policy and legislative work on behalf of their corporate sponsors, have inflicted untold pain and suffering on the working people in this country. The firm has done work directly for hundreds of large and socially destructive corporations directly, among other clients ( It’s Los Angeles location allows it to leverage the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries on behalf of its clients.

    Of course, councilmember Mahan is Harvard graduate and the former CEO of and of Brigade Media ( two firms involved in the technologies of aggregating and projecting opinions of organized constituencies–in these cases through use of on-line platforms. He knows the value of using opinion polling to his advantage and at critical junctures. Don’t forget that Mahan is also a board member of the SVLG, among other business organization influence-peddling organizations ( The use of commissioned and self-serving public opinion polls has become formulaic and polling methods and results are pliable so results should be taken with a grain of salt.

  22. Sorry Salem, not falling for that same old garbage anymore. We’ve done it your way long enough to know we have been fed garbage for a long time, and we are tired of the same poor (and worsening) results over & over again. Voting for a change this time, voting for Mahan.

  23. Brevity is sometimes better than Bluster and Conjecture.

    The verbose comment and link-fest about FM3 and Matt Mahan above can be easily boiled down to several bullet points.

    – FM3, a polling company based in LA and Oakland, conducts 100s of polls, many in CA.
    – Politicians and career politicians conduct and rely on polls to guide campaigns.
    – Polls are also used to gauge community support for growth employment opportunity projects.
    – FM3 conducts polls for mostly Democrats, the majority of office holders in CA.
    – A poll showed Matt Mahan leading in the District 10 council race – and Mahan won.
    – Matt Mahan is a highly educated candidate with real world leadership experience.
    – Mahan is making smart and savvy decisions to conduct his campaign.

    You may have lasted past a paragraph or even 2 in the above comment, but
    based on the history (and histrionic nature) of this ‘Salem’ persona and his posts,
    you would conclude he is a
    ‘Master Of The Obvious’ –
    maybe he can change his persona name to MOTO?

  24. CM Matt Mahan has some explains to do. It won’t be to voters, but to the State. There is a SJS article entitled “State complaint filed against San Jose mayoral candidate” where it states in part:

    “Mahan’s campaign this year classified 18 campaign workers as consultants, filling roles such as volunteer coordinator, deputy field director, communication director and campaign manager. More than half are high schoolers, in college or recent grads. None own campaign consultancies or firms.
    That appears to violate Assembly Bill 5, a state law approved in 2019 that requires many companies to classify workers—including campaign staff—as employees instead of independent contractors. The law is meant to crack down on employers misclassifying workers to skirt paying benefits, payroll taxes and higher wages.

    The complaint says all workers should be classified as employees—and provided benefits like sick leave and overtime pay. If Mahan’s campaign wants to list them as contractors, the campaign must prove the workers qualify under AB 5’s standards. Civil penalties for misclassification range between $5,000 and $25,000, according to California law. The attorney general, district attorney or city attorney could also investigate misclassification claims and prosecute violators.

    The complaint argues campaign workers often follow direction from the campaign manager—meaning they’re not free from their employer’s control. Workers are also hired to do political campaign-related tasks, such as canvassing and attending community events for voter outreach. The complaint says those jobs falls within the usual course of business of Mahan’s campaign.
    Campaign consultants, election attorneys and pollsters with their own firms are typically considered independent contractors and exempt from AB 5, but workers who don’t work campaign-related jobs outside of Mahan’s campaign—or own a business—shouldn’t be classified as contractors either, the complaint says.
    “Our public safety infrastructure is harmed when employers don’t pay their fair share of taxes and employees are exploited when they don’t have disability protection, sick leave or other basic benefits to manage an injury or sickness,” Smith told San José Spotlight. “Assuming these allegations are true, Matt Mahan must explain why he chose not to follow the law like everyone else. This does not bode well for his stewardship of a budget the size of San Jose’s if he can’t get his own financial house in order.”“

  25. Matt Mahan is endorsed by Tom McEnery and Sam Liccardo, two of the biggest capitalist in San Jose. In other words, the 1% of San Jose. McEnery owns a considerable amount of San Jose, he owns San Pedro Square, he used to own the SJ Sharks, and more. To think that Mahan is “for the people” is silly, these endorsements come with strings attached, especially for business people. McEnery and Liccardo are business people. That’s as “special interest” as it gets.

    The unions don’t support Mahan. The unions work for the working class for better pay, benefits, and working conditions, so they would know best who will be representing the people. They support Cindy Chavez for Mayor.

    I also don’t trust anyone who’s campaign slogan is based off a subjective perspective. The revolution of common sense? Who’s common sense? Common sense is not objective, it is subjective. I can’t back that.

    I don’t like both candidates, but after much research, I’d rather have Chavez than Mahan.

  26. We definitely need change… Did you know Alum Rock School District was the last district to open after CA give not gave the ok for schools to reopen. Where was the help for the east communities? Struggling parents would leave their kids with older siblings while the rest of CA were allowed to go back to school. The kids who needed the most support during the COVID got the shortest end of the stick thank to all the politicians…
    I believe sometimes it’s good to try something new & that we are all humans that can build a better world…???

  27. Honestly, all I needed to here was Matt wanting to clean up our streets, make Caltrans clean up the roads and force mentally ill and drug addicted off the streets to know I would vote for Mahan. Tough love is needed. Our streets should not look like a third world country. This is one of the wealthiest areas in the country but looks terrible. Cindy will not fix crime, she will not enforce our dwelling ordinances, and she will spend us back into the debt like she did when she was on the council.

  28. Please vote for Matt, who really seems to be a VERY honest person, unlike Chavez!! I was in the same Sorority at SJSU, and she was nothing but a HAZER and Harasser!! She has NO business in politics what so ever, and is a MEAN and HATEFUL person…….and Talk about FAKE!!
    Vote for Matt, Vote for Matt!!

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