Greg Fischer leads Hal Heiner in close Louisville mayor's race, cn|2 Poll shows

08/11/2010 05:18 PM

The first Louisville mayor’s race not involving Jerry Abramson since the city and county merged starts with Democrat Greg Fischer leading Republican candidate Hal Heiner by 7 points, according to the cn|2 Poll.

Fischer received 40.7% compared to Heiner’s 33.7% in the survey.

But 21 percent of respondents say they are still undecided in the race to replace current mayor Jerry Abramson, a Democrat who is leaving office to run for lieutenant governor on Gov. Steve Beshear’s re-election ticket in 2011.

Independent candidate Jackie Green is a distant third, garnering support from 3.2 percent of respondents and fellow independents Nimbus Couzin and Jerry Mills polled less than 1 percentage point each.

The survey of 502 likely voters in Jefferson County was conducted Aug. 9 and 10 by interviewers from Braun Research Inc., a Princeton, N.J., firm. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. Click here to view the detailed results and cross-tabs.

Both Fischer and Heiner told cn|2 Politics they were happy with the poll’s results. But Fischer acknowledged that a seven-point lead was not enough to coast until November 2.

And the large number of undecided voters was enough for Heiner to be excited about the results as well.

A look at some of the cross-tabs shows that Heiner has locked up a higher percentage of his party’s voters’ support than the percentage of Democrats who said they are for Fischer. But in Louisville, registered Republicans typically make up about 34% of those who turn out to vote in non-presidential election years.

Here’s the party breakdown:

Candidate           Strong D            Not Strong D                        Not Strong R            Strong R

Fischer –             76.0%                        39.7%                                    9.7%                        3.8%

Heiner —              1.3%                        31.9%                                    52.8%                        89.9%

Unsure —             20.8%                        22.4%                                    31.9%                        6.3%

Of those who described themselves as moderates, 24.7% said they remain undecided — the highest figure for any category of political philosophy (very liberal, somewhat liberal, moderate, somewhat conservative and very conservative). Fischer led Heiner 44.5% to 22.8% among the moderates who said they had made up their mind so far.

Overall, the 7-point difference and high percentage of undecided voters signals that the mayor’s race is very much in play, said Danny Briscoe, a Louisville-based political strategist.

“With 21 percent undecided, we have a competitive race this fall,” Briscoe said. “It’s going to be important in how the candidates come across and what issues they champion.”

Still, Briscoe said he wasn’t surprised that Fischer starts the fall campaign season with the lead.

“Fischer should be ahead,” he said. “You would think a Democrat would be ahead. This is the most Democratic district in the state.”

So far, both candidates have touted their business backgrounds for job creation, their positions on the Ohio River Bridges Project and tolling, among other issues, in trying to grab support for their bids.

Check back later for analysis of the cn|2 Poll results on some of those key issues facing Louisville, including opinions about the bridges project.

- Kenny Colston


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