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UncategorizedPolitics on Tuesday: What the latest Campos-Chiu poll numbers...

Politics on Tuesday: What the latest Campos-Chiu poll numbers mean

David Campos kicks off the fall campaign with a rally at 24th St. BART.
David Campos kicks off the fall campaign with a rally at 24th St. BART. Photo by Michael Redmond

By Tim Redmond

SEPTEMBER 9, 2014 — In November, 2003, shortly after Matt Gonzalez finished second in the voting for mayor, well behind front-runner Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Examiner ran a poll showing Gonzalez a few points ahead in the head-to-head December runoff.

The poll was controversial, based on automated phone responses (“press one for Matt Gonzalez. Press two for Gavin Newsom.”) Some questioned its accuracy. But the report made clear that Gonzalez was for real, that the race was close – and the impact was immediate.

“After that poll, the money just started flooding in,” Gonzalez told me later.

So the poll reported by Matier and Ross showing the David Campos-David Chiu race neck and neck could turn out to be a significant boost for Campos, who has been hit by criticism that his fundraising was far behind that of Chiu. (Actually, as we pointed out, Campos has raised $250,000 in the past month or so and would have been able to run a competitive race no matter what.)

But with the numbers showing that Chiu’s natural advantage in the primary – better name recognition from his prior race for mayor, more money, and a more conservative electorate – has vanished, some of the major donors may see that Campos is an equally good bet to win. That matters (for all the wrong reasons, of course): The major players in Sacramento always look for a winner to invest in.

So some of the money advantage may even up a bit in the next few weeks. And on election day, as an anonymous consultant told M&R, it will all be about turnout.

There’s no presidential race to drive people to the polls, and, at least in Democratic San Francisco, the race for governor is a snooze; Jerry’s a lock and nobody’s really all that excited.

Lots of people at the kickoff rally; will that translate into turnout?
Lots of people at the kickoff rally; will that translate into turnout?

So it’s up to the two Assembly candidates to get their supporters to the polls. Field operations will be more important than usual; the direct-mail-attack war was so heavy in the primary that both sides have spent their ammunition. Chiu and the tech-funded independent expenditure committee working for his election sent out to many fliers attacking Campos for supporting Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi that everyone already knows that story. Campos can keep talking about how Chiu founded a political company that worked for Republicans and how he’s taking money from developers and landlords, but most of the voters got the point in June.

Field operations typically rely on volunteers, which gives Campos something of an advantage – his supporters are more likely to be driven by political ideology to support a progressive. Chiu is backed by a more moderate crowd – and frankly, it’s harder to get people excited about a moderate. The centrist voters may come to the polls for Chiu, but I’m not sure how many will walk precincts on weekends for him.

We do know that Chiu had, and may continue to have, a huge advantage with absentee voters in heavily Asian precincts, where last time around the absentee turnout was well over half the vote.

And Chiu isn’t give up any territory: Tonight he will be at a “picnic in the park” at Holly Park, in Bernal Heights, which is where Campos lives and where some of his strongest support is. The event begins at 6 pm – at the same time that Campos will be speaking at the Bernal Heights Democratic Club, which meets at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center a few blocks away from Holly Park.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. I checked myself and the WIkipedia suggests demographics will advantage Chiu, but it doesn’t look large enough to be decisive:

    41.29% White
    8.19% Black
    18.86% Latino
    29.20% Asian
    0.56% Native American
    0.59% Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
    0.37% other
    0.93% remainder of multiracial

  2. Sam: So you’re suggesting that Campos volunteers stay home on election day to ensure the obvious will of the majority? That may be the most asinine political commentary I’ve heard this season.

  3. All you and Turk offer are personal attacks. I offer artfully crafted opinions predicated on sound reasoning. I’m comfortable with how that appears to readers.

  4. When all my opponents can ever come back with are lame personal attacks with no other arguments, then I am know I am hitting home.

    And I never tire of winning.

  5. Elmer, is your point that your viewpoint is totally neutral, objective and unbiased?

    Or that Tim’s is?

    Or did you just think it’s appropriate to try and address a post full of cogent arguments with an ad hominem attack, thereby revealing the paucity of your partisan cause?

  6. Sam: Nice to hear your non-partisan, unbiased analysis.

    Of course, coming from a partisan, biased and mendacious troll such as yourself, it merely serves as a demonstration of your own unrelenting bias.

    That is what you had in mind, no?

  7. Hmm, seems that you accept ;and agree that the “silent moderate majority” support Chiu but that you think if the ideological minority on the left make enough extra effort, then Campos might sneak a victory anyway.

    In other words, you don’t really want the numerically valid outcome, but rather an outcome that is doctored, manipulated and artificial.

    Nice to see you have so little respect for the majority of voters. But as long as you win, who cares how, huh?

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