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.