The campaign of Democratic Assembly candidate Susan Jordan today sent me the results of a poll, conducted for Jordan by the Washington, D.C.-based Feldman Group, that suggests the primary contest between Jordan and Santa Barbara City Councilman Das Williams could be very close.
As expected, given that he is an incumbent local elected official, Williams holds a small, but significant lead (34 percent to 22 percent) when only the names and ballot titles of the two candidates are read. Jordan leads at that stage, however, among voters in the Ventura County portion of the district.
After brief biographies of the two candidates were read, the poll produced an exact tie at 41 percent.
After I agreed not to share the content because it could tip off some of Jordan's campaign strategies, strategist Steve Barkan read me the biographies. They were reasonably even-handed, although the wording clearly worked to Jordan's favor among at least one segment of voters. Also included in Jordan's biography was the fact that she is the wife of incumbent Assemblyman Pedro Nava -- something that probably worked to her favor, as the poll also showed that Nava is viewed favorably by a strong majority of Democratic voters in the district.
Even allowing for the skew, the poll suggests that this race will be very close. Given that Williams has been on the ballot multiple times in recent years in Santa Barbara County and that Jordan has never run for office, the fact that he leads by only 12 points out of the box has got to be encouraging to the Jordan campaign.
The poll surveyed 400 likely Democratic primary voters by telephone on March 16, 17 and 18.
In Williams' favor is the fact that 44 percent were undecided before being read the biographies. That means his fund-raising advantage could be put to good use in the weeks leading up to the June 8 election.