An Indianapolis Star poll released just minutes ago shows Mayor Bart Peterson in a statistical dead heat with his little-financed GOP challenger Greg Ballard. The poll shows Peterson with a narrow 41%-39% lead over Ballard, with Libertarian Fred Peterson capturing 5% of the vote. UPDATE: After releasing its initial poll result, the Star has strangely updated the results to show a larger Peterson lead of 43%-39%. This editorial note has been added to the Star's website: "An earlier version of this story and an accompanying list of poll questions reported different results. Those versions have been revised to present results that more closely reflect voter turnout based on 2004 election results in Indiana."
The pollster, Selzer & Associates, explains the results:
The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Selzer and Company, a Des Moines, Iowa -based public opinion research firm, conducted the poll by telephone from Oct. 21 – 24.
Peterson, who was originally expected to cruise to a large victory over an unknown and under-funded challenger, appears vulnerable, said J. Ann Selzer, the company’s
“This is a very close race,” Selzer said. “I would cast the two-point lead Peterson has as fragile.
A lot of things can happen in terms of who shows up on Election Day that can change the outcome of this race.”
Ballard draws his strength among male voters and whites, which he leads by 8% and 12%, respectively. Peterson draws his strength from female voters and black voters, which he leads by 10% and 63%, respectively. Particularly troubling for Peterson is his approval rating. He has the approval of just 49% of the voters, making him extremely vulnerable. Democratic political science professor Bill Blomquist blamed the under-representation of Democrats in the polls for Peterson's poor showing. He tells the Star that "Democrats in Indianapolis tend to be under-represented in polls, which skew toward white and upper-income voters."
There is also very good news in the poll for Republican council candidates. According to the poll, 41% plan to vote for a Republican council candidate compared to just 31% who said they planned to vote for a Democratic candidate. After reading tonight's poll results, state and local Republicans should be giving themselves a good kick in the ass for writing off Greg Ballard's campaign. He hasn't raised anywhere near enough money to purchase any money for TV ads, let alone less costly radio ads. It has become all too apparent that certain Republican leaders are quietly backing Mayor Peterson's re-election because they are being rewarded financially to throw this election.