A new poll released by the Long Beach Center for Urban Politics and Policy shows Councilmember Rex Richardson could have a large lead over Councilmember Suzie Price heading into Tuesday’s mayoral election in Long Beach.
Forty-two percent of likely voters that participated in the poll said that they already voted for or planned to vote for Richardson while 33% of voters said the same of Price. A quarter of voters surveyed said they were undecided, according to the poll.
Among people surveyed who had already cast their ballots, 60% said they voted for Richardson and 35% said they voted for Price with 5% skipping the question, according to the poll. Among those who hadn’t voted yet, which was about 80% of people surveyed, 33% favored Price and 39% favored Richardson.
Richardson emerged from the primary election in June with a seven-point lead over Price who finished in second. A poll released by the center in May projected Richardson would have a one-point lead coming out of the primary. Both polls have a margin of error of about 3%.
Christian Grose, a professor of political science and international relations and public policy at the University of Southern California who conducted the poll, said while Richardson does appear to have a big lead, there are some factors that could shrink that gap between now and election night on Nov. 8.
Republican voters, who Price polled highest with (59%), tend to vote in person rather than through the mail like Democratic voters, who reported supporting Richardson (57%) over Price by 32 points. However, Grose pointed out that Long Beach has more registered Democrats than Republicans.
The poll also showed that 25% of voters were undecided, and Grose said that late deciders could help Price if she’s able to win a majority of those. Grose estimated that she’d need to win about 60% of the undecided vote when accounting for the poll’s results.
Having such a large undecided population could give either candidate a chance at winning the election if they’re able to pull in a majority of those voters, according to the poll.
The poll surveyed 1,154 likely voters in Long Beach from Oct. 27 through Oct. 31. With the help of students at USC and Cal State Long Beach, Grose wanted to provide a snapshot of the mayoral race, but also give insight into voter’s feelings on local ballot measures, the economy and whether they would support one of the three Los Angeles City Councilmembers who were ensnared in racist audio recordings if they were to seek higher office.
Over 60% of all voters surveyed said they backed Long Beach Measures LBC and LBU, which would change the city charter to permanently align city elections with the state’s cycle. The state holds elections in March and November in Presidential cycles and June and November in gubernatorial years.
Measure BB, which would merge the city’s water and gas departments under a new public utility commission was supported by 56% of voters while Measure E, which could change the way police oversight is administered in Long Beach had 53% support. All of these measures require a simple majority to pass.
A $1.7 billion bond measure put forth by the Long Beach Unified School District appears to be the most tenuously supported measure. Measure Q would raise property taxes by $60 for every $100,000 of assessed value to fund school maintenance. It requires 55% support to pass and the poll showed just 56% of voters reporting they would support it.
Support for the bond broke on party lines with 70% of Democrats saying they supported the bond measure while 61% of Republicans opposed it.
The poll also indicated that inflation was changing the way people were spending money. Nearly 80% of respondents said they were looking for cheaper food prices or buying fewer items and 45% said they were definitely less likely to consider buying a home due to climbing interest rates.
Similar to the primary election poll, voters still said homelessness and crime were their two biggest concerns in the city. More voters said Long Beach was headed in the wrong direction (35%) than those who thought it was headed in the right direction (32%).
However, 39% of voters thought California was headed in the right direction while only 34% believed the state was headed in the wrong direction, according to the poll.