A new poll commissioned by opponents of Mayor Kevin Johnson shows that fewer than half of those asked are likely to vote to re-elect the mayor. But with just five weeks left before the filing deadline, Johnson's opposition has been unable to come with a candidate.
The poll - conducted by EMC Research and paid for by the Sacramento Building Trades Union - showed 46 percent of the 400 city voters asked would vote for an unnamed "someone else" in the June primary. Another 41 percent said they were definitely or probably going to vote for Johnson.
While the mayor had a favorable rating of 53 percent, other results showed 30 percent of voters think "Johnson gets things done;" 34 percent said the mayor is "someone we can count on;" and 31 percent think he has the right priorities. The poll can be found here KJpoll1-31.pdf.
Political consultant Andrew Acosta said the poll "shows the mayor is well-known and not as well-liked as some might think."
"Running for re-election with these numbers is not the best place to start," Acosta said. "If he's challenged, he's going to have work to do."
So far, that "if" remains. The deadline to file paperwork with the City Clerk announcing a run for mayor is March 8 - and no one has even opened a fundraising committee to challenge Johnson.
Steve Maviglio, the mayor's chief re-election campaign adviser, dismissed the poll as a political ploy.
"Most incumbent officeholders in the state of California would give their left arm to have a 53 percent approval rating, particularly in a push poll by the mayor's political opponents," he said. "Given that the findings fly in the face of every other public and private poll that shows the mayor with broad support, this appears to be a nothing more than a fishing expedition by a political consultant in search of a client. Good luck with that."
Matt Kelly, the head of the Building Trades, said his group did not commission the poll as an attack on Johnson, but merely to "have some information at our disposal."
I asked him if his group was encouraging a candidate to run against Johnson, and he replied, "somebody has to make those decisions on their own."